Monday, 14 August 2017
Justin Thomas  (Getty Images)
Justin Thomas (Getty Images)

Justin Thomas won his first Major as a closing 68 handed him a two-shot victory at the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.

The final round of the year's final Major did not catch fire until the back nine but an almighty battle took place over the closing stages and Thomas held his nerve to get to eight under and prevail over European Tour Members Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed.

For Italian Molinari and American Reed it was their best finish in a Major Championship, while Oosthuizen made it four runners-up finishes to go with his Open Championship triumph in 2010.

Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama were then at five under, a shot clear of Kevin Kisner - who had held at least a share of the lead after the first three days - and Graham DeLaet.

Thomas now adds the Wanamaker Trophy to his ever-growing collection as he enjoys a stunning 2017 campaign.

The victory is his third of the year and fourth of the PGA Tour season, a season that has seen him record a 59 at the Sony Open in Hawaii and a 63 at the US Open, which at nine under broke the record to par at that event.

"I know that a Major champion will never be taken away from after my name," he said. "Hopefully I'm going to win some more, plenty more, a lot more, whatever.

"I know you can't get to two unless you get one so I'm excited to have this and it's incredible. It was an awesome day. It was a great experience. It's huge for me.

"As a kid growing up, being a golf fan, you want to win all the Majors. You want to win any Major. For me, the PGA definitely had a special place in my heart and maybe a special drive, I guess you could say. I want to win every tournament I play in. I want to try to win every Major.

"At the end of the day, this was really cool. For this to be my first one and have my dad here and I know grandpa was watching at home. I was able to talk to him and that was pretty cool. It's just a great win for the family, and it's a moment we'll never forget, all of us."

Thomas started the day two shots off the lead and dropped a shot on the first after finding sand three times but bounced back with a 16-foot putt on the second before dropping another shot on the third.

The 24 year old took advantage of the par five seventh before holing a 36-footer on the ninth and while his birdie putt on the tenth looked like it was not going to drop, when it eventually fell into the hole to send the crowd wild, he was soon in a share of the lead with Matsuyama, Kisner and Chris Stroud.

Molinari made that a five-man group with a birdie on the 15th but all the competition then dropped shots and when Thomas produced a stunning chip-in from the left of the green on the par three 13th, he had a two-shot lead.

Reed and Matsuyama both followed Molinari's lead with gains on the 15th to cut the gap to one but a towering seven iron into the 17th left Thomas with a 15-foot putt for a three-shot advantage over the clubhouse leaders.

He bogeyed the last after finding sand off the tee but with Kisner and Stroud both faltering in the final group behind, victory was assured.

Molinari claimed a rare birdie on the first and took advantage of the seventh but when he three-putted the tenth, any chance of victory looked gone. Putts from ten feet on the 11th and 12th and an approach to four feet on the 14th had his tail up, however, and his next birdie gave him that share of the lead before he dropped a shot on the 16th.

Reed made four birdies and two bogeys from the second to the seventh but further gains on the tenth, 14th and 15th catapulted him up the leaderboard before he bogeyed the last.

Oosthuizen turned in level par and then bogeyed the 11th before chipping in for eagle on the 15th. A bogey on the next ended his chances but he holed a 50-footer on the last to finish in style.

Fowler had a run of four birdies from the 12th in his 67 while Matsuyama finished with a 72.

Kisner double-bogeyed the last in a 74 with DeLaet signing for a 69 to finish three shots ahead of Major debutant and Porsche European Open champion Jordan Smith, Stroud, Jason Day and Matt Kuchar.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1THOMAS, JustinUSA18-8
T2MOLINARI, FrancescoITA18-6
T2REED, PatrickUSA18-6
T2OOSTHUIZEN, LouisRSA18-6
T5FOWLER, RickieUSA18-5
T5MATSUYAMA, HidekiJPN18-5

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