Fast-finishing Thomas edges Koepka for St. Jude win
It was a wild finish that saw the world’s best pushed to the edge and it was Justin Thomas who came out on top in the end.
While the 27-year-old posted a 5-under 65 to edge out a group of four to win by three on 13-under, the end result gives little indication of just how close the tournament was right up until the final hole.
Thomas first took a share of the lead at the par-4 15th following a miracle save after entirely missing the fairway and ending up left of the green before managing to put his chip-shot within six feet of the hole for a miracle three.
“I got unbelievably lucky [at the 15th]. But that’s the stuff that happens when you win. Somehow that kind of calmed me down. Stuff like that doesn’t happen, more often than not, unless you win the tournament,” said Thomas.
Another birdie came at the next hole while Koepka, playing in the group behind, bogeyed the 16th to hand Thomas a two-shot lead with two holes to play.
Walking up the 18th, Thomas was one shot ahead of defending champion Brooks Koepka but was in a difficult position to the right of the green after putting his tee shot into the rough.
Justin Thomas (Credit: PGA Tour)
Thomas wouldn’t have to worry for long though as Koepka proceeded to pull his final tee shot of the day into the water to effectively crush any chance at taking back-to-back titles in Memphis.
In the end, Thomas chipped to within half a metre of the hole and got his par while Koepka fell away with a double-bogey for a disappointing end to the tournament for the former world No.1.
Koepka was forced to share second place honours alongside Daniel Berger, Tom Lewis and Phil Mickelson.
WITB: Justin Thomas
- Titleist Pro V1x Golf Ball
- Titleist TS3 Driver (9.5º)
- Titleist TS3 FW (15º)
- Titleist 915Fd FW (18º)
- Titleist T100 (4), 620 MB (5-9)
- Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (46º, 52º) SM8 (56º)
- Scotty Cameron Futura X 5.5 Prototype
Thomas’ win today racks up several milestones including a return to world No.1 and becoming the first three-time winner this season on the PGA Tour.
More impressively, the 27-year-old became the third youngest player ever to reach 13 PGA Tour titles behind Tiger Woods at 23-years-old and Jack Nicklaus at 25-years-old pushing aside the previous owner of the title, Rory McIlroy.
Australia’s Jason Day continued his recent return to form closing in equal 6th place alongside Xander Schauffele, Shane Lowry, Chez Reavie, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Louis Oosthuizen.
Lucas Herbert brushed off a shaky start with weekend rounds of 69 and 67 seeing him finish in a share of 49th and one shot ahead of Marc Leishman.
Cameron Smith and Matt Jones were the last of the Aussies in the no-cut event in equal 59th.
The Tour now heads west to San Francisco for the long-awaited first major of the year at the PGA Championship where back-to-back winner, Brooks Koepka along with Justin Thomas (2017), Jason Day (2015) and Phil Mickelson (2005), who all finished inside the top-6 this week, are looking in top form.
Adam Scott will make his return to the PGA Tour for the first time since the cancelled Players Championship along with four-time winner PGA Championship winner, Tiger Woods.