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The Debrief: 2020 WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational

The Debrief: 2020 WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational

Everything you need to know from an exciting week in Tennessee where Justin Thomas claimed his second WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational title in three years.

Justin Thomas

Thomas on top of the world

Thomas, who won this event when it was held at Firestone Country Club in 2018, shot a final round 65 to come from way back to secure a three shot victory, but it was not all plain sailing on a topsy turvy afternoon in Memphis.

As a result, he regained the World Number One spot after seeing off defending champion Brooks Koepka in a thrilling final round battle to win the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational title.

The 27-year-old began the day four shots behind overnight leader Brendon Todd but he had climbed to the top of the leaderboard by the time the final pairing had reached the turn after making four birdies on his front nine.

He dropped into a five way tie for the lead before Koepka nudged ahead, only for Thomas to take advantage of a huge slice of luck at the 15th took a favourable bounce on the cart path and made its way through some trees before landing in a nice spot 52 yards from the hole.

Another birdie followed for Thomas before a par-par finish but Koepka hit back to move within one of the leader but found water off the final tee, resulting in a double bogey to hand Thomas his second World Golf Championships crown.

Thomas said: "It was a hard fought day, but it meant a lot how we did it, being four behind to start the day.

"I haven't exactly played well coming from behind in the past and I feel like I learned a lot from that.

"Right now I'm obviously very happy and elated that we got it done today but I need to work on some things and get ready for the PGA next week and try to win another Major."

Thomas is hoping to keep hold of his World Number One status for longer than he did last time, when he stayed at the summit for four weeks.

He said: "I feel like I'm a better player and I feel like I'm more complete of a golfer now than I was then."

Tom Lewis' superb 61

Even Tom Lewis did not expect his sensational turnaround in Tennessee.

After an opening 73, the Englishman was 14 shots off the lead at the halfway stage after following up his first round with a level par 70 on Friday.

But because there was no cut at TPC Southwind this week, Lewis had the chance to play his way back into contention and he did just that with a course record equalling 61 on Saturday.

He even manged to grab a share of the lead during the final round before he went on to finish three strokes behind eventual champion Thomas in a share of second place alongside Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Daniel Berger.

But Lewis clearly enjoyed himself on Sunday and, speaking after his round, he said: "When you make some birdies out there, every hole feels birdieable. After the first round, I didn't see the scores the guys were shooting. It's amazing what the mind can do.

"The simpler I keep it, the better I perform and that's just what I've got to do next week."

Rickie Fowler feeling chippy

When you see a player hole one from off the green, you could sometimes be forgiven for questioning whether it was a bit of a fluke. But Rickie Fowler showed that he's definitely doing it deliberately when he chipped in for the third day in a row on Saturday...

Koepka hits form at the right time

Defending champion Koepka has had a torrid time with form and injuries in the last 12 months and record just two top ten finishes since lifting the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational in July 2019.

And those woes continued since golf resumed following the coronavirus pandemic as the World Number Six headed to TPC Southwind on the back of a tie for 62nd and two missed cuts in his last three events.

However, the four time Major champion, who is looking to become the first person in 93 years to win three straight US PGA Championship crowns and first ever player to do so since the event changed to stroke play in 1958, has found his form at just the right time.

Four birdies in a row from the ninth in his third round helped the 30-year-old move back into contention on Saturday and eventually nudged in front during the final round before finding water with his last tee-shot to end his challenge. You would be foolish to rule out Brooks in San Francisco.

Brooks Koepka

Touching tribute to Mia Villegas

Players and caddies wore rainbow ribbons this week to pay tribute to Camilo Villegas's daughter, Mia, who died after battling tumours on her brain and spine. She was only 22 months old.

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