Brooks Koepka first to win back-to-back U.S. Golf Opens in 29 years

June 18, 2018

Brooks Koepka first to win back-to-back U.S. Golf Opens in 29 years

Kyle Porter  & Chip Patterson

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Brooks Koepka battled through two tough afternoons at Shinnecock Hills over the weekend to become the first repeat winner at the U.S. Open since Curtis Strange in 1988-89 and just the second since Ben Hogan in 1950-51.

Everything about 2018’s event from the scoring perspective was the inverse of the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills. By winning on both courses, which forced golfers to play quite differently, Koepka has cemented his status as one of the best golfers in the world when he’s healthy.

Koepka not only had to battle 54-hole co-leader and playing partner Dustin Johnson, he had to keep his eye on a leaderboard that saw Masters champion Patrick Reed make a run and Tommy Fleetwood shoot the sixth 63 in U.S. Open history earlier in the day. Fleetwood entered the clubhouse at 2-over par, and after both Koepka and Johnson bogeyed the 11th hole, Fleetwood’s score looked strong enough to put him in contention for a playoff.

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Brooks Koepka–US Open Golf Champion 2018 and 2017

But when Koepka knocked his approach shot snug on 16 to push the lead to even par with two holes to play, there was no question that he was going clear every hurdle Shinnecock Hills provided this week.

The initial challenge was his own doing, a 75 on Thursday with two bogeys and two double-bogeys. He rallied to a 66 on Friday, and as the course and conditions took hold of this tournament on Saturday afternoon, Koepka was impacted just like the rest of the field. He carded three bogeys in his final seven holes of the day to finish with a 72, but those four pars he had to grind out in the same stretch left him in tie for first place and in the mix to win on Sunday.

Round 4 was all about execution. Koepka was all over the pins early in the round, with birdies on three of the first five holes. When the wind picked up in the afternoon, he did as good a job scrambling as anyone on the course. He was lights out on the greens, burying tough putts from 5-10 feet when his playing partner couldn’t buy a birdie putt.

Here’s how the leaderboard looked at the end of the 2018 U.S. Open:

1. Brooks Koepka (+1): A two-putt bogey on No. 18 was not going to sour a coronation moment for the two-time major winner. While he occupies a crowded room of under-30 American superstars, no one else has two U.S. Open titles. In winning his second before turning 30, Koepka becomes just the fourth golfer since World War II to accomplish that feat, joining Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Jack Nicklaus.

2. Tommy Fleetwood (+2): It’s hard to nitpick a historic round (and new course record at Shinnecock Hills), but Fleetwood’s 63 could have been a 60 or 61. We will remember the putt on 18, but Fleetwood also had three or four really good birdie looks that didn’t fall during his charge up the leaderboard. The next step for Fleetwood is putting together four consistent rounds of this elite golf in a major championship.

3. Dustin Johnson (+3): The stats after two rounds hinted at potential unsustainable success on the greens and somewhat average, at least by D.J.’s standard, work off the tee and on his approach shots. The confidence he had been showing on the greens looked lost on Saturday and Sunday, as his putting will be the talking point of why the World No. 1 was not able to convert on his lead in 2018.

4. Patrick Reed (+4): The reality inside Reed’s mind — where he is the greatest golfer of all time and we just don’t get it — and the reality shared by the rest of the golf world moved a little bit closer together this week, where Reed burned hot on a 31 going out only to flame out with a 37 coming in for a fourth-place finish.

5. Tony Finau (+5): It was an electric afternoon with Finau on the course with moments of title contention and big jumps and slides on a very crowded leaderboard. Playing in the final group with Daniel Berger, Finau had five birdies, five bogeys and a double-bogey on No. 18 to notch his first top-five finish and third top-10 finish in a major championship.

Congratulations: Patrick Reed is the 2018 Masters Champion at August National

April 9, 2018

Congratulations: Patrick Reed is the 2018 Masters Champion at August National

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What Patrick Reed lacks in widespread support should now be offset by widespread respect. The scale of Reed’s achievement here, in winning his first major championship, is illustrated by who and what he had to withstand.

There were occasional, understandable wobbles but Reed ultimately held firm to prevail by a shot; 69, 66, 67, 71 and 15 under par sealed Green Jacket delivery by one from Rickie Fowler.

It seemed remarkable in context that Reed’s previous Masters record included two missed cuts, a share of 49th and a tie for 22nd. Now, an individual once kicked out of a Georgia college has been afforded the last laugh. Others scoffed when Reed proclaimed himself a top-five player. He won’t achieve that ranking position with this win but such details are unlikely to bother Reed now. He is deservedly the Masters champion.

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The identities of Reed’s biggest threats was the main fourth-round surprise. The Texan started Sunday believing he would have to see off a former Ryder Cup rival. Instead, US team-mates threw the strongest punches.

Jordan Spieth began the final day nine shots adrift of the lead. What subsequently transpired came within the realms of the finest closing round in Augusta history. Spieth briefly tied Reed’s lead; the cracking of a tree branch at the last halted the 2015 champion’s charge. Spieth’s 64 and minus 13 total proved in vain.

“All in all it was a great day,” said a magnanimous Spieth. “I was nine back, going out I knew I needed significant help no matter how well I played.”

Fowler was next to emerge from the pack, with a birdie at the last meaning Reed had no margin for error. Reed feared he had pulled a drive which found the left side of the fairway. A mid iron into two-putt range followed, as did typical celebration. Given what expectancy had come before, the denouement felt like an anticlimax; which is credit to Reed’s steeliness under the most intense of pressure. Fowler is worthy of credit for making sure he was outside the scoring hut to congratulate the champion. “I left it all out there, I made him earn it,” said Fowler.

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Rory McIlroy’s bid to complete a grand slam will have to wait for at least another 51 weeks. Just when he needed it most, McIlroy’s putter was to prove colder than a December morning in Siberia. His Sunday shortcomings can be linked only to that scenario, with confidence visibly draining from a player who was so in control of his emotions for 54 holes.

The Northern Irishman missed from 4ft for an eagle at the 2nd in what was a jarring indicator of woes to come. McIlroy didn’t recover confidence or touch on the greens thereafter; his 74 meant nine under plus a share of fifth with Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Cameron Smith. The 28-year-old McIlroy cut a disconsolate figure when walking from the 72nd green. This one will sting.

Jon Rahm earned fourth at 11 under, with the Spaniard’s visible annoyance at that scenario telling in respect of competitive instinct. A major win appears close for Rahm.

Paul Casey, who started day four in the nether regions of the scoring table, briefly flirted with history. The Englishman was nine under par through 15 holes; raising the prospect of equalling the Masters record score of 63. As often transpires in these scenarios, a jab was delivered by reality. Casey bogeyed each of his last two holes for a 65 and aggregate of five under.

“That was fun, wasn’t it?” said Casey. “Birdie, birdie, eagle on Amen Corner, I’m going to remember that for a long time.

“I’m obviously disappointed. I got out of position horribly on 17 and 18 which was kind of reminiscent of how I played this week. I haven’t been very good until that streak today. But to shoot 65 today, it would have been hard to turn that down. And it was fun; I know 63 is the course record, 62 is the lowest ever in a major. So I was aware. Not particularly nervous, just kind of having a good time and obviously didn’t do it, but it was fun.”

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As this major hurtled towards its end, the fevered anticipation attached to Tiger Woods’s involvement felt like an eternity ago. Woods had set a Sunday target of returning to even par on aggregate having started at plus four. He did precisely that before an untimely bogey at the last, with a 69 most notable for a stunning Woods eagle at the 15th. In recognition of that, Woods will take home some crystal goblets as opposed to the Green Jacket, which was never really a viable target. The 42-year-old, typically, was vague on where and when he will next appear in a tournament environment.

“Generally after this tournament I put away the clubs for a while,” Woods said. “I usually take three to four weeks off – throughout my entire career – and usually the clubs are put in the closet and I just kind of get away for a while. The run-up to this event is pretty hard and pretty gruelling. I pushed myself pretty hard to get ready.

“So I’ll take a little time off, get back in the gym and start working on my body again. I’ll get it in good shape and get back at it again.

“It’s disappointing that I didn’t hit the ball well enough this week. But to be able to just be out here competing again, if you had said that last year at this particular time I would have said you’re crazy. I had a hard time just sitting or walking back then. So now to be able to play and compete and hit the ball the way I did, that’s quite a big change from last year.”

Twelve months ago, Reed didn’t even feature on Masters weekend having signed for rounds of 76 and 77. What’s the opposite of horses for courses?

Sir Roger Bannister, the first athlete to run mile in under four minutes, dies aged 88

March 4, 2018

Sir Roger Bannister, the first athlete to run mile in under four minutes, dies aged 88

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Sir Roger Bannister, the first athlete to run a sub-four minute mile, has died  aged 88 in Oxford, his family have said.

His time of three minutes 59.4 seconds, set at Iffley Road sports ground in Oxford on May 6, 1954, stood as a record for just 46 days but his place in athletics history was assured.

He also won gold over the same distance at the 1954 Commonwealth Games and later became a leading neurologist.

 A statement released on behalf of Sir Roger’s family said: “Sir Roger Bannister, died peacefully in Oxford on 3rd March 2018, aged 88, surrounded by his family who were as loved by him, as he was loved by them.

“He banked his treasure in the hearts of his friends.”

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Bannister studied medicine at the University of Oxford and went on to become a consultant neurologist after retiring from athletics in 1954.

The Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten of Barnes said: “My wife and I were very sad to hear about Roger Bannister’s death. We offer our condolences to his family. He was not just one of the great athletes of the last century but a superb doctor and servant of Oxford University.

“He was a man of great distinction and honour in every sense. At the age of 88 he was still an active supporter of the University and we will miss him enormously.”

After missing out on a medal when he finished fourth in the 1,500 metres at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, the then medical student made it his goal to become the first athlete to run a four-minute mile.​


Wes Santee, of the United States, and John Landy, the Australian, had both gone close to the mark before Bannister finally achieved the feat at the Iffley Road track.

As with his previous attempts, he had Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher, his Great Britain team-mates, to set the pace. Brasher took the runners through the first 880 yards before Chataway took over until the end of the third lap.

Bannister kicked for home with 275 yards remaining and crossed the finish line in three minutes 59.4 seconds.

Bannister retired in August 1954 after winning the 1,500 metres at the European Championships in Berne, Switzerland. He devoted his life to medicine and has always said his career as a neurologist, and not his landmark run, was the achievement of his life.

The current mile world record is held by Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj, who ran a time of three minutes 43.13 seconds in Rome on July 7, 1999.

Speaking to the BBC in 2014 about his illness he said: “I have seen, and looked after, patients with so many neurological and other disorders that I am not surprised I have acquired an illness,” he said at the time.

​”It’s in the nature of things, there’s a gentle irony to it.”

Bannister was the first Chairman of the Sports Council and was knighted for his service in 1975.

In response to the news of his death, British Athletics tweeted: “All at British Athletics are incredibly saddened by the passing of Sir Roger at the age of 88.

“A legend in every sense of the word.”


Prime Minister Theresa May, meanwhile, wrote: “Sir Roger was a great British sporting icon whose achievements were an inspiration to us all. He will be greatly missed.”

Fellow sporting stars also paid tribute.

Olympic champion Amy Williams wrote: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sir Roger Bannister. First athlete to break the 4-minute mile, and going on to do groundbreaking work in medical science.

“You redefined what could be achieved by the human body & showed us nothing is impossible.”

Olympic sprinter Iwan Thomas added: “Sorry to hear of the passing of Sir Roger Bannister what a true legend that man was, an awesome athlete & a true gent.”


Golf: The United States retains the Presidents Cup in Style

October 2, 2017

Golf: The United States retains the Presidents Cup in Style: Congrats to Captain Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson and his colleagues

October 2, 2017 2:16am EDT October 1, 2017 7:40pm EDT The U.S. extends its streak with a 19-11 victory. Daniel Berger clinches the victory in singles competition.


The Finest US Presidents Cup Team ever assembled with  Captain Steve Stricker

The Americans continued their dominance at the  Presidents Cup in 2017 at Liberty National, capturing their seventh straight trophy with a 19-11 victory. This is the 10th time the U.S. has won the event in the 12 times it has been contested.

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Phil Mickelson of the Victorious 2017 US Presidents Cup Team

The U.S. team had world-ranked golfers with Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson, but it was Presidents Cup rookie Daniel Berger who secured the final half-point to clinch the victory for the Americans. The talented U.S. team went into the weekend with an 8-2 lead and the Internationals didn’t have enough going for them to give the Americans a challenge. From the start it was clear the U.S. was the better team, even with Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama on the International side.

MORE: Trump presents Presidents Cup to U.S. team

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President Donald Trump with Captain Steve Stricker of the  victorious 2017 US Presidents Cup Team

Over the four days of play, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler emerged as a solid team while Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman gave the U.S. the spark it needed to keep an uncompetitive event interesting. With many of these fearless players on the U.S. roster likely to compete in the 2018 Ryder Cup, the American team will be dominant for years to come in these team events.

Malaysia’s 2017 SEA Games Cock Up–Getting the Indonesian Flag Wrong

August 21, 2017

Malaysia’s 2017 SEA Games Cockup–Getting the Indonesian Flag

by FA Abdul

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COMMENT| A young journalist working for a local media company, Wai Wai Hnin Pwint Phyu walked into the training room in the Pazundaung district of Yangon the other morning, feeling somewhat upset.

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The Cock Up. But the Magnanimous H.E. President Jokowi Widodo said we should not make a mountain out of a molehill. But we in Malaysia should not make this kind of mistake. Actually, this oversight is inexcusable.

“Fa, what you think of SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur?” she asked in her limited English.

“I think we struggled to make it happen. Why do you ask?” I said.

“I am not happy. I am very angry,” said Wai, her face sour.

Since we had a good half-hour before beginning the training session, I pulled out two chairs next to her – one for me and one for our translator – and prepared myself for a story.

Before I could ask her what made her upset, Wai showed me a picture on her handphone. It was of a big group of Malaysian supporters clad in Jalur Gemilang.

“What picture is this?” I asked, curious.

“This is a picture of Malaysian fans, taken during the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar during the Malaysia-Singapore football match. See how happy they are supporting their country inside the stadium.”

I looked at her, confused.

“Do you know where the Myanmar fans were when our Myanmar football team fought Laos?” she asked, her eyes turning red.

“Where?” I asked worriedly.

“Outside the stadium,” she answered shortly as she showed me a picture of hundreds of fans with Myanmar flags outside the stadium.


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Malaysian crowd unfriendly towards our Singapore neighbours

According to Wai and allegations on social media, only 500 tickets were made available by Malaysia for the Myanmar fans during the Myanmar-Laos match at the UiTM Stadium, which has a capacity of 6,000 seats. Although there were a lot of empty seats during the match, no additional tickets were made available for the remaining fans. As a result, they had to camp outside – some climbed fences and some on trees, to catch glimpses of the match.

From time to time, someone from inside the stadium would ring someone waiting outside, to give updates on the match – that was how their fans outside the stadium celebrated all of Myanmar’s three goals.

Myanmar fans who were stranded outside were purportedly only allowed to enter the stadium 10 minutes before the match ended.

“This picture is going viral in Myanmar. It is making many people angry at Malaysia. Myanmar treated Malaysia so well during the 2013 SEA Games but Malaysia is treating Myanmar so bad in 2017 SEA Games. Why?” Wai asked an honest question.

I was lost for a reply.

“There are thousands of Myanmar people working in Malaysia. This is not fair for them,” she added.

“I agree, Wai. This is not fair….if it is true.”

“You always support your Malaysia,” Wai said. She did not sound too happy. “Look at this report in your own media.”

The news report was about the bus driver of the Myanmar women’s football team who apparently was arrested for theft during a match.

“The Myanmar team had already complained on social media that they were feeling scared of the way the bus driver was operating the bus while on the way to the stadium. And then after beating Malaysia 5-0, the Myanmar team who were tired and hungry had to wait almost two more hours because they could not find the bus driver. Nobody knew he was arrested,” Wai explained.

“That’s really bad,” I said, scratching my head.

Driving without a licence

“You know what is really bad, Fa? The report also says that the bus driver had no driving licence at all!”

My jaw dropped.

“How can Malaysia hire someone without driving licence for our athletes? What if something bad had happened while he was driving recklessly?” Wai was really upset.

I scrolled the Facebook page showed by Wai and was displeased to read chains of angry comments.

“If you are not ready for this, you don’t need to be a host. Shame on you Malaysia!

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Tony Fernandes and AirAsia Staff–The Bright Side of Malaysia

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“Everyone is angry at Malaysia. Me, my father, my boyfriend… everyone. We always like Malaysia because Malaysia is beautiful country, many of our relatives work in Malaysia and we have friends like you from Malaysia. But this time, we don’t like Malaysia.” said Wai, unhappily.

I apologised to Wai on behalf of Malaysia. She smiled, assuring me that it was not my fault that her countrymen were treated in such a way. However, deep inside, I know she is still very much upset.

With hundreds of millions of ringgit spent to ensure the 29th SEA Games unfolds perfectly, I wonder what went wrong.

Do the stories going viral in Myanmar hold any truth? Perhaps Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin should look into it.

As I was writing this, I received a text message forwarded by my son. It was an invitation for all Malaysian football fans to support the Malaysian team in the Malaysia-Myanmar match on August 21 in Shah Alam – the tickets all sponsored.

And I begin to wonder if Myanmar football fans in Malaysia will be able to purchase tickets for this match today – or whether they will be left allegedly stranded outside the stadium once again.


So much for the spirit of sport…

24 Year Old Justin Thomas is the 2017 PGA Champion

August 14, 2017

24 Year Old Justin Thomas is the 2017 PGA Champion

Breaking free from a five-way tie for the lead early on the back-nine of a fascinating and ever-changing final round, world number-14 Justin Thomas emerged as the winner of the 99th USPGA Championship at Quail Hollow. The 24-year old American reached eight-under par with a closing 68 to claim the year’s fourth and final Grand Slam title by two shots. Three players – Patrick Reed, Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen – tied for second place.

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The clinching moment was the 15-foot putt Thomas made for a two on the short 17th – the second component in Quail Hollow’s so-called “Green Mile.” It was only the fourth birdie of the day on the 221-yard par-3 and afforded him the luxury of a bogey on the potentially treacherous closing hole. Having driven into the left-hand fairway bunker, golf’s newest major champion played safely for the five that clinched his fourth PGA Tour victory of the season and made him $1,890,000 richer.

“I felt like I had the game to get it done,” Thomas said.

That fact has hardly been in doubt for some time. Thomas was a star back to his junior days, winning three times on the prestigious AJGA and earning Junior All-American honors on the circuit twice. He then moved on to Alabama, and won the Haskins Award Presented by Stifel … as a freshman.

He left after his sophomore year and two straight team national championships, and the outside expectations were high. But Thomas never gave in to the crush of pressure. He won on the Tour in 2014 and cruised through to the PGA Tour, where he won early in his second season (at the CIMB Classic in November 2015).

But Thomas, of Goshen, Ky., really accelerated his play in 2016-17. The 24-year-old won three of five starts from October to January, the last of which was a seven-shot romp at the Sony Open that started with an opening-round 59.

“He’s pretty amazing,” said Kenny Perry, a fellow Kentuckian who has known Thomas since the young star was a teenager, in January. “He’s a superstar.”

That line was on point, if not prescient. Is he the superstar in the game? Well, no. Not yet, at least.

Thomas now has five PGA Tour wins, with four of them coming this season. That 2016-17 total beats everyone in golf. But Jordan Spieth, a good friend who hung around the 18th green to watch Thomas close out after he failed to earn the Career Grand Slam in a T-28 showing at 2 over, still has him topped by two majors and six Tour wins overall, and Rory McIlroy (T-22, 1 over) is still the leader of the current crop when it comes to majors with four. (Side note: McIlroy hasn’t won a major in three years, and his 2017 might be over.)

Heck, Brooks Koepka captured his first major at age 27 earlier this year, while PGA Championship contenders Hideki Matsuyama (who tied for fifth at 5 under) and Rickie Fowler (also T-5 after four straight birdies on the back nine briefly put him in contention) are always a threat to nab their first major.

Thomas has been firmly in place among this stunning group of young stars, but he was desperate to climb the ladder; jealous that he wasn’t winning majors like some of his quicker ascending peers.

“There’s no reason to hide it,” Thomas said. “I would say anybody, they are jealous that I won. I was jealous that Sergio won (the Masters); that Brooks won (the U.S. Open); that Jordan won (the British Open). I wanted to be doing that, and I wasn’t.”

It’s fitting, too, the manner in which Thomas earned his first major title.

The Kentucky kid is a player of hot flashes, certainly a high talent, but also a streaky one that is nearly unmatched in the ability to put together electric runs. The 59 speaks to that, as did a third-round 63 at this year’s U.S. Open. (That one also came with a closing eagle.)

But could one of these scorching bursts bring Thomas a major championship – more known for being earned through a plodding approach? Thomas proved his methods could mesh with a major title.

The streaky player entered the tournament in a lull, having missed three straight cuts before a tie for 28th at last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (a no-cut event). Nothing went to dispel the notion of the struggles continuing when he opened at Quail Hollow in 2-over 73.

Then, his hot flashes started to return. Six birdies arrived in a second-round 66 that moved him from a weekend of morning tee times to firmly in the hunt at five shots back.

The nonchalant twenty-something proceeded to follow up with a 69, using what he referred to as his “B or C” game, to sit two shots back entering Sunday.

If Thomas’ performance wasn’t overwhelming to that point, his mental process sure was. Thomas said he had an “unbelievable calmness” the whole week and all but predicted his ensuing victory Saturday night.

Beginning the final round two shots back of Kevin Kisner, Thomas opened the day bogey-birdie-bogey to fall three behind. Maybe his vision wasn’t to be after all.

Thomas, though, exhibits more patience than his ups and downs would imply.

“He was very smart, very grounded,” Perry said in January. “When he asked me questions as a teenager, he always wanted to know how to practice, what I think about golf shots, golf courses, how to get around a little bit on the Tour. He picked it up fast.”

So, Thomas didn’t fret. In fact, his bogey at No. 1 came after holing a 14-footer. It was the first turning point.

“The putt on No. 1 was pretty big,” Thomas said. “Starting with a double there would have been pretty terrible.” But his ability to incite electricity on the course wouldn’t emerge until hours later. Then it came with a fury the rest of the field couldn’t handle.

Thomas predicted it, too, telling caddie Jimmy Johnson in the middle of the round that “something good’s going to happen.”

He started proving himself right by burying a side-winding 36-footer for birdie at No. 9 that got him to within one. “I had a feeling I was going to make it,” Thomas said.

Just a hole later, he topped himself. A wild drive left actually bounced off a tree into the middle of the fairway, only after Thomas implored for the ball to “get lucky” and beseeched the tree to spit it out. He added on a “please” for good measure. It all worked.

The lucky break allowed Thomas to go over the green in two, and he chipped up to 8 feet. The crucial birdie putt, to move back within one of Matsuyama after the Japanese player birdied the hole, was supposed to go right at the end, but it didn’t. At first.

The ball ended on the left lip and hung there for quite a few seconds, to Thomas’ dismay. Then he tried to help himself out. “I threw a little fit to try to see what would happen,” Thomas said.

Again, the golf gods listened, as Thomas’ ball decided to drop in the cup, a birdie, if a belated one, and the moment of the tournament.

A hole later, Thomas was in a five-way tie for the lead after a Matsuyama bogey, and then all by himself when his compatriots faltered.He showed no mercy by making it a two-shot cushion via a birdie chip-in at No. 13. “Probably the most berserk I’ve ever gone on the golf course,” Thomas said.

 Now, it was just a matter if Thomas could hold on. Reed was charging hard and several others lurked on the edge. It didn’t help Thomas’ cause when he parred the benign 14th and 15th holes, and was struggling as he came to Quail Hollow’s infamous “Green Mile.”

He batted it around up the first of the stretch’s monstrous three legs. With his lead down to one as he faced a 6-footer for par at 16, Thomas could’ve been consumed by the pressure of the moment.

Instead, he buried the putt and went right at a treacherous pin at the water-shrouded par-3 17th, knocking his tee shot to 15 feet.

“I’ll never forget that vision in my head,” Thomas said. “That was one of the best golf shots I’ve probably ever hit in my life.”

When Thomas rolled in the birdie putt to move to 9 under, he all but sealed the win.

He would enter the final hole two ahead, and was three shots clear when Kisner posted a bogey at 16. By that point, it hardly mattered what Thomas did up the closing hole.

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He hit it short of the green from a fairway bunker, chopped his third to 25 feet and two-putted for an easy bogey, his 68 and an 8-under 276 total.

Only a Kisner hole-out eagle at 18 could force a playoff, a dream that came crashing down when the 33-year-old hooked his approach in the water. The 54-hole leader would double bogey and plummet to a tie for seventh at 4 under after that final-round 74.

Thomas’ first major coming at a PGA Championship fits in another way. Both Thomas’ dad, Mike, and his grandfather, Paul, have been longtime teaching professionals – the backbone of the PGA of America, which runs the PGA Championship.

“For me, the PGA definitely had a special place in my heart,” Thomas said. “For this to be my first one and have my dad here, and I know grandpa was watching at home. I was able to talk to him and that was pretty cool.”

The younger Thomas never lacked the ability to win a major when it came to physical talent. It was on the mental side where he felt he could still grow.

He’s not entirely wrong, spiritual clairvoyance and whatever respect he has from Perry aside. As “streaky player” would imply, Thomas has been prone to valleys that are no joke. He followed up his three-win stretch with a run of 14 events where he didn’t post another and missed six cuts.

It was what appeared to be his most nondescript round, his third-day 69, that Thomas was most proud of then this week.

He invoked Tiger Woods after that performance, noting the 41-year-old used to win tournaments by five or six without his best stuff.

Thomas may not be that good, but it was an attitude he espoused Saturday that he used in no shortage in finishing things off a day later.

“I like to think that I’m mature now and I can manage an under-par round when I don’t have my best stuff,” Thomas said after his third round. “I think that’s why I feel like I’m ready to win a major championships now versus last year, I probably didn’t have that.

“You are going to have a day, usually at least a day in the tournament where you don’t have your best. You are not hitting it well. It’s what you can do with it.”

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Justin Thomas won in Malaysia. Two-time CIMB Classic champion Justin Thomas  becomes the youngest player in PGA TOUR history to shoot 59, and joins the likes of Tiger Woods as only the 5th player to win four tournaments or more before age 24.

He’s figured it out, and now it’s a major and three other wins this season. That’s probably a good thing for golf, as Thomas has never been adept at losing. Father and son often played for a dollar in the evenings of Justin’s adolescence and when the young boy lost, it wasn’t pretty.

“It was pretty heated out there,” Thomas said. “And I’m a pretty sore loser, so I did not handle it well when I lost and had to give up a dollar.” If a dollar meant that much, it’s a wonder he played with so much calm with millions on the line.

Of course, this is not the end but a likely beginning. The season isn’t over yet. Thomas has to be the favorite for player of the year honors, and that means his quest for glory this season is far from complete.

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When queried about goals this season, Thomas wasn’t ready to rest on his laurels with the Wanamaker Trophy in hand. “Let you know when the year’s over,” Thomas said.