Thomas defeats List in Honda Classic playoff

Justin Thomas showed off all his class to win the 2018 Honda Classic on Sunday following a one-hole playoff over fellow American, Luke List.

Earlier Thomas showed true grit as he needed a birdie the final hole to have any chance of a playoff and his gap wedge from 90 metres was so clutch that it settled half a metre from the cup before he drained the putt that got him into a playoff after closing with a 2-under 68.

Thomas then hit 5-wood over the water and onto the 18th green for a two-putt birdie to beat List on the first extra hole.

The 24-year-old and new world number 3 posted his eighth win on the US PGA Tour and his seventh victory in his last 31 tournaments. He is now the third PGA Tour player alongside Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods to have achieved this feat before the age of 25.

Justin Thomas Justin Thomas (Credit: PGA Tour)

“It was another level of difficulty, not only the amount of people I was trying to beat, but this golf course,” said Thomas.

“I am so proud of myself and how I played. When you get out of position you have to try to salvage par and that’s what I did. I just stayed patient. I know what to expect, how tough it can be, and it feels good to come out on top.”

WITB – Justin Thomas

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 917D2 (8.5º)
3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15º)
5 Wood: Titleist 915Fd (18º)
Irons: Titleist 718 AP2 (4 iron), Titleist 718 MB (5-9 irons)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM5 (56-14F), Vokey SM6 (46-08F, 52-12F, 60-12K)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T X5
Grip: SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour

Thomas won five times last season, and joins Patton Kizzire as the only multiple winners so far this season. He also joins Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker and Spieth as the only reigning FedExCup champs to win multiple times in the following season.

It was also the seventh playoff in 15 PGA Tour events this season.

List’s runner up finish was his best finish on the PGA Tour, and his 3-under back nine came after he made bogeys at two of his first four holes.

“I’ve been in situations, maybe not in the final round, where I’ve gotten off to a slow start and that’s when your brain starts spinning a little bit negatively,” said List.

“I was able to kind of bring myself back in.”

List’s only real error came missing the 18th fairway in the playoff, knowing that a birdie would be required to win.

“This one is going to sting a little bit,” said List. “But I found a restored passion for what I do out here. I gave it my best effort on every shot.”

Sweden’s Alex Noren finished in third position at 7-under with England’s Tommy Fleetwood a stroke further back in 4th position. Korea’s Byeong Hun An Run and Webb Simpson rounded out the top-5.

Tiger Woods’ expectations have risen after his 12th placing on Sunday. Though a double-bogey at the 15th ended any outside chance of victory, Woods took confidence from his performance in just his third official start since undergoing a spinal fusion last April.

“Thought I played well this week, I really did. I had control of it. I didn’t play the last few holes well a couple days but overall pleased with the progress I made and gave myself a chance at it. I was 3-under par, had four holes to go and if I had gotten two or three more coming in, I could have posted early,” said Woods.

Adam Scott was the best of the Australians moving eight spots up the leaderboard on Sunday after closing with a 69 to finish in a share of 13th position.

Greg Chalmers was another mover jumping 29 places after firing a closing round 67 to record a tie for 17th with the two the only Aussies competing.