Justin Thomas Ends Drought And Triumphs In Record-Breaking Fashion
Rolex Testimonee Justin Thomas has claimed an unforgettable victory at the 104th PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club, claiming the iconic Wanamaker Trophy for the second time, after winning an extraordinary championship playoff.
Thomas secured his second PGA Championship adding to his 2017 victory after precision play in a three-hole aggregate playoff to determine the 2022 PGA Champion at Southern Hills Country Club. The playoff was the first in a men’s Major championship since 2011 and with this triumph, the World No. 5, Thomas showed the composure and precision required to win, edging his competitor by one stroke after a total of 75 holes played. The playoff for the Wanamaker Trophy was contested on holes 13, 17 and 18 with both players scoring a birdie on the first hole, but Thomas edged to victory with a birdie on the second and his resulting par on the last playoff hole rewrote his name into the PGA Championship history books.
In winning, Thomas matched the greatest last-day comeback in PGA Championship history, becoming only the sixth golfer to ever come back from seven strokes or more in a final round to capture a Major title.
As a result of winning this momentous Championship, which featured 156 of the world’s top players, the 29-year-old American secured the second Major title of his career and 16th worldwide victory joining an esteemed group of players to have won the PGA Championship more than once including Rolex Testimonees Gary Player (1962, 1972), Jack Nicklaus (1963, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1980) and Tiger Woods (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007).
The 29-year-old American defeated compatriot Will Zalatoris by one stroke in a tension-packed three-hole aggregate playoff after a heart-breaking 72nd-hole collapse by Chile’s Mito Pereira.
Pereira led all day only to hit his final tee shot into the water en route to a double-bogey at the 18th hole and hand Thomas the trophy.
“It was a bizarre day,” Thomas said. “I was asked earlier in the week about what lead is safe, and I said, no lead. This place is so tough. But if you hit the fairways you can make birdies and I stayed so patient. I just couldn’t believe I found myself in a playoff.”
Not since John Mahaffey’s seven-shot rally at Oakmont in 1978 had anyone made such a fightback to win the PGA Championship.
Thomas, who also won the 2017 PGA title, fired a three-under-par 67 in the final round and Zalatoris, last year’s Masters runner-up, shot 71 to finish 72 holes deadlocked on five-under 275.
Zalatoris and Thomas each birdied the par-5 13th to open the playoff. At the par-4 17th, Thomas drove the green and two-putted for birdie from 36 feet while Zalatoris chipped to seven feet but missed his birdie bid.
At the final playoff hole, the 18th, Zalatoris missed a 40-foot birdie try and finished on one-under while Thomas lagged a putt from 26 feet only to anxiously watch the ball past the hole, before tapping in for par and the victory on two-under.
Following Sunday’s final day of play, Justin ThomasWells Fargo said:
“I really tried to play the golf course for what it was, and I had a good feeling. Just walking up 18 in the playoff, I knew it wasn’t over, but I looked up and I wanted to take it in because you don’t know when and if it’s going to happen again. The list of champions at this place speak for themselves and when you get good golf courses like this and been on the list of champions at this golf course, it’s very special, because all those others have been able to do that and it’s definitely nice to be able to do it after Tiger Woods in 2007.”
Renowned for its pristine greens, strategic hazards and slender, meandering fairways, which places a premium on accurate iron play, Southern Hills played host to the Championship for the fifth time in its history, more than any other host venue, for four days of exceptional golf. With rounds of 67, 67 and 74, Thomas roared back from seven strokes down after 54 holes, to close with a final-round 67 finishing with a five-under-par total of 275 that led to the three-hole playoff, with Thomas winning by one stroke from the international field.
Rolex’s long-standing support for golf spans over 50 years, including a presence as the Official Timekeeper and Official Partner at the PGA Championship, with Justin Thomas adding his name to a long list of Testimonees to have lifted the Wanamaker Trophy in recent years including Jason Day (2015), Martin Kaymer (2010), Brooks Koepka (2018, 2019) and Phil Mickelson (2005, 2021).