The Latest: Justin Thomas wins PGA Championship
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Latest on final round of the PGA Championship (all times local):
Justin Thomas has won the PGA Championship for his first major title.
The 24-year-old Thomas shot a 3-under 68 in the final round for his fourth win of the year. He entered the week as the world’s 14th-ranked player.
Thomas started the day two shots back of third-round leader Kevin Kisner, but began to make a move on the seventh hole.
From there, he birdied four of the next six holes, including a dramatic putt on the par-5 10th hole where his ball lingered on the left edge of the cup for about 12 seconds before falling in. He followed that up by chipping in from the fringe on No. 13 for another birdie en route to winning the Wanamaker Trophy. He essentially sealed the victory with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th.
Thomas’ father, Mike, is a PGA Tour professional at Harmony Landing in Louisville who got him started in the game at a young age. Mike Thomas is a former member of the PGA Board of Directors.
Justin Thomas sank a 15-foot putt on the 17th hole and has taken a 3-shot lead at the PGA Championship after Kevin Kisner followed with a bogey on the 16th hole.
Thomas is 4 under on the day and has a series of big shots, including a putt on No. 10 where his ball remained on the edge of the cup for 12 seconds before falling in and a chip in on No. 13.
He is looking for his first major championship.
Three players are in the clubhouse at 6 under for the tournament.
Tiger Woods has nothing on Justin Thomas.
Thomas’ putt on the par-4 10th hole rolled up to the left side of the cup, hanging over the edge. Thomas briefly pointed for the ball to go in, then started walking away. After 12 seconds, the ball dropped in the cup for a birdie that lifted him into a tie for second place at the PGA Championship. He has since moved to the top of the leaderboard at 8 under with a 2-stroke lead.
Thomas walked away smiling, gave knuckles to his caddie and a tip of the hat presumably to the golf gods.
The shot was reminiscent of Woods’ chip in the 2005 Masters, which hung on the edge before dramatically falling in.
England’s Jordan L. Smith made the most of his first major, finishing at 1 under and giving him a chance at a top 10 finish at the PGA Championship.
The 24-year-old Smith, who grew up idolizing Justin Rose, shot a final-round 68 to cap his first professional tournament on American soil. He said his performance far exceeded any expectations he might have had coming into the event.
Smith earned his way into the last major of the year by winning the Porsche European Open earlier this year. He will earn an automatic berth in next year’s PGA Championship if he finishes in the top 15.
Smith finished three shots ahead of another well-known golfer with the same first name – Jordan Spieth.
For the first time since Thursday afternoon, Kevin Kisner is trailing in the PGA Championship.
Kisner went at the flag with a fade on the par-5 seventh hole and it came just short, and into the water. He took a penalty drop, hit wedge about 18 feet by the hole and two-putted for a bogey. That put him at 6 under.
In the group ahead of him, Hideki Matsuyama two-putted for birdie from long range on No. 7 and moved to 7 under.
Trying to make a move on the back nine is Rickie Fowler, who made his third straight birdie on the 14th hole and was three shots behind.
Tiger Woods will remain the youngest player to win golf’s career Grand Slam.
Jordan Spieth closed out his run at Woods’ record with a 70 in the final round, leaving him 2 over for the tournament and currently tied for 29th place. Spieth had conceded as early as Friday when he fell 11 shots behind leader Kevin Kisner that his chance of winning the PGA Championship was over.
He played well for the most part on Sunday.
He had one blemish – a double bogey on seventh hole – in an otherwise bogey-free round that included three birdies.
When Spieth competes in the PGA Championship next year in St. Louis, he will be older than Woods was when he earned the career Grand Slam at 24 years, 6 months old.
He won’t win the PGA Championship, but Jon Rahm struck one of the more memorable shots of the week.
Rahm hit a backward chip on the par-4 18th hole and somehow landed it on the green.
He was in a tough spot Sunday when his second shot stopped in the primary rough near a stream, across the red line marking the water hazard.
The right-handed Rahm stood with his back to the green and swung the club backward with only his right arm.
The ball bounced four times before rolling 45 feet from the pin, drawing a loud cheer from the gallery.
He missed that putt, settled for bogey and finished at 3 over for the tournament.
Dustin Johnson, the world’s top-ranked player, finished strong at the PGA Championship with a 4-under 67 in the final round. He finished the tournament at even par.
Johnson made seven birdies on the day and shot 32 on the front nine. The key for Johnson was making some of the shorter putts that he had been missing all week at Quail Hollow.
Johnson says his back is still a little tight, but he’s not in any pain and plans to play in the FedEx Cup playoffs that start in two weeks as well as the President’s Cup.
Rory McIlroy finished the final round of the PGA Championship with a 3-under 68 and was not sure when he is going to play again.
McIlroy ended another season without a major by revealing he has felt spasms from a muscle in his upper back the last few weeks. He says he has been practicing more than usual the last few weeks to get ready for the PGA Championship.
Now, he’s not sure what he’s going to do.
McIlroy said he might be in the FedEx Cup playoffs that start in two weeks. Or he might not play until next year. He wants time off to make sure it is fully healed. McIlroy says the only tournament that really means anything to him is in April – the Masters, the only major he hasn’t won.
Hit fairway, win salad?
Chris Stroud says he prepared for the final round of the PGA Championship by watching one of his favorite movies, ”Bull Durham,” about a baseball team whose stadium had a wooden bull that snorted and a the sign that read, ”Hit bull, win steak.”
Stroud, the last player to qualify, was in the final pairing Sunday with leader Kevin Kisner and began the round one stroke back.
Stroud said before his round that he watched “Bull Durham” on Sunday morning. A day earlier, he paraphrased a line from the movie when describing how he didn’t want to tinker with a hot streak.
The Durham Bulls, the real minor-league team portrayed in the movie, noticed and tweeted one of the cliche-packed lines delivered by Tim Robbins’ character, ”Nuke” LaLoosh, ”I just want to give it my best shot, and the good Lord willing, things will work out.”
No word on whether Stroud also would try to breathe through his eyelids, as LaLoosh was instructed.
Jason Day has made up one of the strokes he gave away during his confounding quadruple bogey.
Day began his final round of the PGA Championship on Sunday with a birdie on the par-4 first hole. He holed out a 45-foot escape from a greenside bunker.
The birdie moved him to 1 under for the tournament, six strokes behind leader Kevin Kisner.
The world’s former No. 1 player ended his round Saturday with an eight on the par-4 18th after a risky hook shot from behind a tree wound up in a flower bed.
It’s becoming clear that No. 15 at Quail Hollow is going to be a pivotal swing hole coming down the stretch in the final round of the PGA Championship.
Players are destroying the par 5 so far today.
Of the 23 players who have played the hole, there have been two eagles, 15 birdies, five pars and only one bogey. The scoring average is 4.21.
Kevin Kisner sets out to try to claim his first major at the PGA Championship on a Quail Hollow course that appears to be set up for scoring.
Kisner had a one-shot lead over Hideki Matsuyama and Chris Stroud, two players coming off victories last week. Matsuyama shot a 61 in the final round at Firestone for his second World Golf Championship title. Stroud won the Barracuda Championship for his first PGA Tour victory in 290 tries.
In early action Sunday, K.T. Kim has recorded two eagles. Dustin Johnson, whose year most likely will end without a major, was already 4 under through 11 holes. Jordan Spieth, who will have to wait until next year to try to complete the career Grand Slam, opened with six consecutive pars.