Justin Thomas wins PGA Championship, landing his first major

Justin Thomas emerged from the shadow of a longtime friend and won the PGA Championship to take his place among the young elite in golf.

With two big breaks to start the back nine, a chip-in for birdie and a 7-iron that soared over the water to a peninsula green, Thomas closed with a 3-under 68 and won by two shots. The PGA Championship was the most fitting major for the 24-year-old son of a PGA professional.

Mike Thomas, a former PGA board member and longtime pro in Kentucky, walked along the edge of the 18th green and into the arms of his son, a major champion.

The week began with Jordan Spieth’s quest for a career Grand Slam. Spieth was at the 18th green late Sunday afternoon at Quail Hollow, but only so he could celebrate the moment with Thomas, close friends since they were 14.

“So awesome, dude,” Spieth told him.

It was every bit of that.

He even had a shot that was reminiscent of Woods’ chip in the 2005 Masters, which hung on the edge before dramatically falling in.

Thomas’ putt on the par-4 10th hole rolled up to the left side of the cup, hanging over the edge. Thomas briefly pointed for the ball to go in, then started walking away. After 12 seconds, the ball dropped in the cup for a birdie that lifted him into a tie for second
place at the PGA Championship.

Thomas walked away smiling, gave knuckles to his caddie and a tip of the hat presumably to the golf gods. He later said he kind of threw a tantrum like a child while waiting for it to drop in the cup.

The 24-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, ultimately finished 8 under due to six birdies and three bogeys during the fourth round.

He said the key to his victory was patience.

“I really can’t put it into words,” Thomas said while smiling. “I wish my grandpa could be here for it.”

With five players still in the mix in the final hour, Thomas surged ahead by chipping in from 40 feet on the par-3 13th hole, and holding his nerve down the stretch as his challenger eventually faded,…

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