May 23, 2022 - Sports

Justin Thomas wins PGA Championship with comeback for the ages

Justin Thomas holds the Wanamaker Trophy.

Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Justin Thomas entered Sunday seven strokes back with a 1.2% chance to win the PGA Championship. 21 holes later, he'd won his second major.

Why it matters: Thomas' seven-stroke rally is tied for the third-largest final round comeback in major championship history, trailing only Paul Lawrie (10 strokes, 1999 Open) and Jack Burke Jr. (eight, 1956 Masters).

How it happened: The quick version is that Thomas (-5) beat Will Zalatoris in a three-hole playoff to win his second PGA Championship (2017), but that belies the chaos of the final few holes.

  • Thomas got himself in the mix with four birdies in his last 10 holes and entered the clubhouse one stroke behind Chile's Mito Pereira, the surprising 54-hole leader competing in his second major.
  • Zalatoris then nailed a clutch par putt on 18 to match Thomas. Both players needed Pereira to falter down the stretch — and they got their wish.
  • Pereira's birdie putt on 17 fell a half-inch short, which proved costly as he double-bogeyed 18 to miss the playoff entirely and join the hall of 72nd-hole horrors.
  • In the playoff — the first at any major since the 2017 Masters — Thomas went birdie-birdie-par including a monster drive that reached the green on the par-four 17th. He tapped in for par on 18 to win.

The big picture: Thomas, 29, becomes just the sixth golfer since World War II with 15 PGA Tour victories and two majors before turning 30 (Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy).

The last word: Caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay gave Thomas some great advice ahead of Sunday's final round. Words to remember:

"You have to stop being so hard on yourself. You don't have to be perfect. Keep staying positive so good stuff can happen."
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