Justin Thomas wins the PGA championship with a roaring comeback

TULSA, Okla. – The dominant storyline prior to the 2022 PGA championship revolved around Phil Mickelson, who last year became the senior senior champion when he won the event at age 50, but this year chose not to defend the title of him. Then the focus of the tournament shifted to Tiger Woods, 46, who came to Southern Hills Country Club to resume his exciting return from injuries sustained in a terrible car accident 15 months ago. But Woods struggled physically and, bogged down in last place after three rounds, retired before Sunday’s final round.

What evolved on the last day of this year’s PGA Championship was yet another dramatic showdown among the dazzling 20-year-olds who overtook elite golf.

In a three-hole overall playoff after Sunday’s 18-hole fourth round ended in a draw, Justin Thomas, 29, held off rising star Will Zalatoris, 25, to win his second championship. PGA. Thomas, who entered the fourth round on Sunday seven shots out of command, also won the 2017 PGA championship.

Thomas and Zalatoris started the playoffs with birdies on the first hole of the playoffs, the 13th. On the attainable par-4, 17th hole of 302 yards, Thomas led the green and had a long putt for the eagle that came 3 feet shorter. Zalatoris’ drive on 17 just came off the green and his flop shot stopped 8 feet from the hole. His birdie putt slipped over the hole and Zalatoris took advantage of the par.

With a chance to seize the lead, Thomas shook his birdie putt for an edge of a stroke as he headed for the third hole of the playoffs, which was 18th.

Both golfers reached the 18th green in two. Zalatoris failed to cover a birdie putt and Thomas only needed two putts for a championship-winning par.

It was the first playoff in a major league since the 2017 Masters.

At various points in the latter stages of the fourth round, both Thomas and Zalatoris seemed unable to capture Mito Pereira, who was the leader of the third round and seemed poised to become the first Chilean golfer to win a major championship.

Pereira, playing only in his second major championship, held a one-shot lead as he entered hole 18. But he cut his tee shot on the last hole in a small cove adjacent to the fairway. After a penalty shot from the water, Pereira’s approach shot finds the big rough along the green. His chip from there rolled away across the green until he stopped at the edge on the opposite side of the green. Pereira, 27, made a double bugbear, which led to a tie for third place with American Cameron Young.

Zalatoris has extensive experience in the league despite having only been on the PGA Tour for three seasons. He finished second at last year’s Masters and was sixth in that event last month. He was eighth at the 2021 PGA championship and sixth at the 2020 US Open.

But on Sunday Zalatoris, after a tied first nine, was hampered by a poor putt, something that has plagued him all season. He blocked the 12th and 16th holes, but recovered when he took an aggressive line off the tee at the 17th par-4 achievable. His ball fell into a greenside bunker, but he escaped with a deft shot of sand that stopped 8 feet from the pin. Zalatoris cleared his nerves and sank the putt for the bird. He finished by making a 10 foot putt to save the par in the last hole to shoot 71 and finish five under par overall. At the time, however, it didn’t seem to be enough to capture Pereira.

Justin Thomas most likely ended his round with the same feeling. He started seven shots behind Pereira on Sunday, but made a dramatic surge after playing the first eight holes in an above par. After a birdie on the ninth hole and a par on the 10th, Thomas’s tee shot on the par-3 eleventh hole was slightly below the green.

Thomas then sank the 64-foot birdie putt. At the par-4 12, he sank an 18-foot birdie putt for birdie. Thomas missed consecutive makable birdie putts on 13th and 14th, but then splashed a par-4 17th hole greenside bunker shot at less than 3 feet, a distance he successfully negotiated for his fifth birdie of the season. day. This would put him one shot from Pereira with a hole to play. A brilliant shot and bold approach to the elevated 18th green stopped 11 feet behind the hole, but Thomas’s putt slipped over the right edge for a par and a score of 67.