US PGA Championship: Justin Thomas wins maiden major at Quail Hollow

By Matthew HenryBBC Sport
US PGA Championship - final leaderboard
-8 Thomas (US); -6 F Molinari (Ita), P Reed (US) L Oosthuizen (SA); -5 R Fowler (US), H Matsuyama (Jpn); -4 G DeLaet (Can), K Kisner (US)
Selected others: -1 J Smith (Eng), J Day (Aus); level D Johnson (US), P Casey (Eng); +1 R McIlroy (NI), I Poulter (Eng); +2 J Spieth (US); +5 S Lowry (Ire); +11 L Westwood (Eng)
Full leaderboard

Justin Thomas won his first major with a thrilling two-shot victory at the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.

The American, 24, trailed leader Kevin Kisner by two shots going into the final round but hit a three-under-par 68 to win on eight under.

Francesco Molinari (67), Patrick Reed (67) and Louis Oosthuizen (70) tied for second.

"I can't put it into words right now. I'm glad to have a trophy now," an emotional Thomas said.

Thomas made six birdies in his round, including spectacular efforts on the 10th and 13th holes.

Rickie Fowler carded a four-under-par 67 to tie for fifth on five under alongside Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, who went round in 72.

At one stage on the back nine, Thomas, Molinari, Matsuyama, Kisner and Chris Stroud were tied for the lead.

Kisner, who led after each of the opening three rounds and for much of the early part of his final round, fell away late on as a one-over 72 left him four under for the tournament.

Thomas, from Kentucky, is the eighth first-time major winner in the last nine majors.

The story of Thomas' dramatic win

Thomas started the round on five under but he slipped to three shots behind leader Kisner with two bogeys in his opening three holes.

The world number 14 picked up birdies at seven and nine while Kisner slipped back after finding the water on the seventh.

At that point, Thomas' playing partner Matsuyama - bidding to become Japan's first male major champion - took the outright lead thanks to back-to-back birdies before faltering on the back nine.

Thomas' round gained momentum on the 10th, when a birdie putt clung to the lip of the hole for 15 seconds before dropping.

"It was funny because it snuck up on the hole. We read it going left and then a bit right and it never came back right," Thomas said.

"Once it got there I felt it would go in but it didn't so I acted like a child and had a tantrum. Suddenly it went in and I didn't look so dumb."

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas as children tweet
Thomas has been good friends with fellow American and three-time major winner Jordan Spieth since childhood

Thomas moved two shots clear of the field on the 13th when he chipped in from the edge of the green as the crowd erupted.

He made another birdie on 17 and, despite a bogey on the last, led with one pairing left on the course.

Kisner had to eagle the 18th to force a play-off, but he found the water and double-bogeyed.


Iain Carter, BBC golf correspondent

This was an outstanding performance from Justin Thomas, taking the initiative, seizing the moment. The birdie at the 17th meant he could drop a shot at the last.

It was Thomas' fourth victory of the year. He really kicked on this week. The way he finished this off was very impressive and now he rises to number six in the world.

Justin Thomas driving stats
Thomas topped the average driving distance rankings for the tournament

Jay Townsend, BBC golf pundit

The strength of Justin Thomas is everything. He hits it a mile, he can hit it high. He is a more talented hitter of the ball than Jordan Spieth, although I don't think there's a more talented all-round golfer at making scores than Spieth at the moment.

If you think about Spieth, Thomas, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson - these are young guys that are going to carry the US Ryder Cup team for probably the next five matches. The tide has probably turned.

How the world's best fared

Rory McIlroy was the pre-tournament favourite at Quail Hollow, where he has won twice on the PGA Tour and holds the course record, but two 72s and a 73 left him out of contention after three days.

The Northern Irishman carded a three-under 68 in the final round to finish one over, but he will end the year without a major - his third consecutive season without winning one of golf's four biggest tournaments - and suggested he may miss the rest of 2017 because of a rib injury.

Spieth was also heavily fancied following his triumph at The Open in July, as he looked to become the youngest player to complete the career Grand Slam.

But the American hit a final-round 70 to finish two over, ending his hopes of breaking Tiger Woods' record.

Woods was aged 24 years, seven months and 25 days when he completed the full set of majors and Spieth will be 25 by the time of the 2018 US PGA.

2015 champion Jason Day, who was in contention before a quadruple bogey on the 18th in his third round, closed with a one-under 70 to finish one under for the tournament.

World number one Dustin Johnson ended with a four-under 67, including seven birdies, to finish level par.

Where did the British players finish?

Jordan Smith
Englishman Jordan Smith, 24, was making his debut at a major

England's Jordan Smith, competing in his first major, was the highest-placed British player on one under after a three-under 68.

Compatriot Paul Casey hit a 71 to tie for 13th at level par for the tournament.

Englishman Ian Poulter's two-under final round of 69 gave him a top-25 finish at one over.

Further down the leaderboard, Chris Wood carded a final-round 73 to end three over, Tommy Fleetwood finished eight over thanks to a final-round 74, while Lee Westwood hit a four-over-par 75 for 11 over.

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