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By : BGA Proshop
Justin Thomas wins the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational by 3 shots.
Thomas started the day behind overnight leader Brendon Todd but caught on fire early in his round on Sunday to share the lead with Todd by the 9th hole. He managed to go out with a 31 which included 4 birdies in his first 9 holes.
Tom Lewis from England also got off to a hot start trying to chase down the leader. Lewis went through a stretch on the front nine with 4 birdies in a row from the 3rd hole and went one better than Thomas with another birdie on the 9th giving him a 30 on the way out. Unfortunately, Lewis needed to keep the momentum going on the back nine but made a bogey on the 13th and was running out of holes to make up the difference.
Meanwhile defending champion and winner at St. Jude last year, Brooks Koepka was in the chasing pack and only one group behind Thomas. Koepka started the day at 9 under but got to 10 under after his first hole. He then got it to 11 under on the 9th and was in the mix to defend the tournament. He took the lead on the 13th with a solid birdie but didn’t have it for long. A costly bogey on the 16th left the door open for Thomas but a bounce-back birdie on the 17th made it interesting to the end. Only 1 back from Thomas with 1 to go and with Thomas in some trouble on the 18th Koepka the only man that could catch him tried to take on the water on the 18th hole but couldn’t carry it with his drive and ended walking away with a double bogey.
After his first nine, Thomas was looking to build but a stumble on the 12th hole dropped him from the lead. A birdie on the 15th gave him a share of the lead again and another birdie on the par 5 16th, Thomas took the outright lead and didn’t look back. His most crucial hole came on the 18th. After hitting his drive, way to the right, past the bunker and cart path couldn’t attack the pin as there was water hugging the left-hand side of the green and fairway. His best chance was to hit his approach right of the green and hope to get up and down. With 20 metres to go and with water in the back of the green, Thomas hit one of the best chip shots of the season and was able to roll it within 2 feet of the hole. Tapping in for par Thomas had to wait for Koepka to finish and when Koepka drove it into the water, Thomas knew to had claimed victory.
With that, he also overtakes Jon Rahm as world number one and reclaims it for the first time since June 2018.
“It was a grind today,” Thomas said. “You know, it was a place where I was four back, but I didn’t have too many people in front of me. I just kind of kept my head down, I tried not to look at leaderboards and really just played my own game. I tried to make as many birdies as I can if I got the ball in play off the tee. And I drove the ball probably as good as I ever have the first 13 holes. Not so great the last four holes, and we got very, very lucky and fortunate on some of those breaks to capitalize.
“You know, that’s the kind of stuff I guess that happens when you win and I was just glad to stay patient, stay in the moment and not get ahead of myself to make sure we got the W.”