Thoughts and Video Highlights: Justin Thomas’ Improbable Comeback Victory at the PGA Championship

JUSTIN THOMAS WON THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP in a three-hole playoff with Will Zalatoris. Thomas began the final round seven shots behind 54-hole leader Mito Pereira. He finished with a 3-under 67 and watched all the leaders come back to him.

Thomas’ victory, his second PGA and second major, seemed improbable. But the whole tournament seemed a bit off, even if it did keep everyone in suspense to the end.

This PGA kind of lurched along day to day … hot weather, cool weather, wind, more wind, low rounds, high rounds, more high rounds, Rory McIlroy up then down (repeat), and the same with Tiger Woods, including a WD before Sunday’s final round. His body couldn’t take any more of Southern Hills.

Sentimental favorite and frontrunner Mito Pereira grimly hung on to nearly the end on Sunday, with a chance to grab his first PGA Tour title and first major victory on the final hole — if he could make a par. Alas, his drive leaked into the creek to the right of the fairway.

“I thought I was nervous the first day,” Mito said. “Then I thought I was nervous the second day. Then I thought I was nervous on the third day. But the fourth day was terrible. I mean, this morning was tough.”

He added, “I just played it through. And actually had a one-shot lead on 18 and that was pretty good and sad to hit it in the water. I wish I could do it again. Just good memories for this tournament. Just taking out the 18th.”

Thomas’ shot-making was masterful in the playoff. Bones, his caddie, said he didn’t miss a shot. (That’s the way I saw it from my couch.) Like someone in the golf media said a bit earlier, Justin looked like he was the only one having fun out there.

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

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