Some of it is playing good golf, some of it was being in the right place at the right time.
The 70 leaders from the PGA Championship Points list from the previous year’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational through the current year’s Quicken Loans National. Meanwhile, marquee names Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy have still yet to find their groove.
“It was good”, the 24-year-old Thomas said, stopping to turn his head and smile at the boy. “Jealously definitely is. I wanted to be doing that, and I wasn’t”. Open Championship victor Spieth tallied 1-over 72 while McIlroy, who had past success in Quail Hollow, registered the same numbers.
Justin Thomas won his first PGA Tour major championship Sunday at Quail Hollow in Charlotte.
The 24-year-old Thomas looked around on the green and said he knew most of the PGA members there dressed in blue sports coats, joking that he probably drove them insane running around as a kid.
“It’s awesome and I think they knew I would do the same for them”, Thomas said.
Fowler had his seventh top-5 finish in a major at Quail Hollow and now has played 30 majors since turning pro.
Above all, it required plenty of grit, and Thomas showed plenty of that.
But after being primarily famous as Spieth’s best friend – despite multiple PGA Tour victories, including three this season before arriving in North Carolina – Thomas has finally escaped the shadow. At the top, Kevin Kisner (72) stayed ahead but only just by a shot over Hideki Matsuyama (73), whose own game seemed to have left him for the day.
It’s fine to take breaks for pleasure, and diversions keep us sane, but more than any other time in recent memory, it’s important to remain aware that fences keep things in as much as they keep things out.
One second. Two seconds. Reed made four birdies in five holes on the front nine, added another at 10 and birdied 14 and 15th to reach seven-under but a closing bogey doomed his hopes. His birdie putt swirled into the cup, and the rest was easy. But this time it was worse with a double bogey and a bogey on first two holes. Thomas finished at 8-under 276.
He finished two shots clear of Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed and Louis Oosthuizen, who were all tied for second.
The 15 low scorers and ties in the previous year’s PGA Championship.
Kisner faded at the end, beginning with a three-putt for bogey on 16.
Justin Thomas’ father, Mike, is a PGA head professional. He also made sure to collect an important part of history. The total is now 131.
“I just had an unbelievable calmness throughout the week, throughout the day”, Justin said.
I think the PGA Tour’s unveiling of its fall schedule for the 2017-’18 season, complete with the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in South Korea, is the latest sign of not only how global golf is but how the biggest tour in the world is becoming more global, too.
After the 2015 season, Thomas chose to call in a favor.
When the Presidents Cup is played there in 2021 it probably won’t be the one that we saw for the year’s final major, either.
“I’ve been driving it well”. It was not to be, but that did not stop Spieth celebrating.
Other nuances of access factored in, too: Maybe a boss happened to have an extra ticket available, or a friend knew a friend who could get you into a VIP area.
Spieth was there, hugging him and welcoming him to the club. Thomas won the 36-hole event and got to play the pro-am the next day with LPGA great Juli Inkster.
When he walked up the hill at the back of the 18th, there was Spieth in his civvies to greet him.
McIlroy, who went into the week as pre-tournament favorite, at least finished with a flourish with a 68 to close on 285, but will have to wait until next year’s US Masters for another tilt at a fifth major where he will find likely stiff competition from the likes of Thomas, Spieth and Fowler.