Justin Thomas felt his experience at this year’s US Open had stood him in good stead as he wrapped up victory in the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.
The 24-year-old American claimed his first major win after carding a three-under 68 in the final round to prevail by two shots from Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed and Louis Oosthuizen.
Thomas emerged from the pack thanks to a run of four birdies in seven holes from the seventh and he kept his cool over the tough closing stretch, sealing his success with another birdie at the 17th before calmly settling for a bogey on the 18th.
The world No 14 went into the final day of the US Open at Erin Hills in June just a shot off the lead after setting a tournament record for lowest score in relation to par with a nine-under 63 in the third round, but he could only finish ninth after a closing 75 and said that experience played a large part in his victory in Charlotte.
“I felt like at the US Open, although Brooks Koepka had an unbelievable round, I needed to be more patient to have a better finish,” Thomas said. “The thing about Erin Hills is really after five holes, I wasn’t out of the tournament. But I mean, I was seven or so back. I was in contention in the final group for a good finish.
“It wasn’t very realistic for me to have a great chance to win that tournament. Just the experience of going through it, any time you can be in the final group is great but it just was really my comfortability of where my game was and how I felt, and the prep that I put into this week; I felt like I was ready. It just was about going out and doing it.”
There were a number of key moments in Thomas’ final round, including a chip-in for a birdie at the 13th and another birdie at the 10th when his putt teetered on the edge of the hole before finally dropping in.
“The putt on 10 was funny because it snuck up on the hole,” he said. “We read it going back a little back right and it never did. I kind of acted like a child and threw a little tantrum, but then it went in and I didn’t look so dumb.”
Fittingly in a tournament which invites 20 club professionals to compete, both Thomas’ father Mike and his grandfather Paul were PGA professionals.
“I really can’t put it into words,” he said. “I wish my grandpa could be here to see it. It’s so special to get it done with three generations of PGA members.
“But to have dad here, and my mom and my girlfriend, it’s great. It really is.”