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Thomas beats Zalatoris in playoff, wins PGA for 2nd major

May 23, 2022 GMT
Justin Thomas poses with the Wanamaker Trophy with his dad Mike, after winning the PGA Championship golf tournament in a playoff against Will Zalatoris at Southern Hills Country Club, Sunday, May 22, 2022, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Justin Thomas poses with the Wanamaker Trophy with his dad Mike, after winning the PGA Championship golf tournament in a playoff against Will Zalatoris at Southern Hills Country Club, Sunday, May 22, 2022, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Justin Thomas poses with the Wanamaker Trophy with his dad Mike, after winning the PGA Championship golf tournament in a playoff against Will Zalatoris at Southern Hills Country Club, Sunday, May 22, 2022, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Justin Thomas poses with the Wanamaker Trophy with his dad Mike, after winning the PGA Championship golf tournament in a playoff against Will Zalatoris at Southern Hills Country Club, Sunday, May 22, 2022, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Justin Thomas poses with the Wanamaker Trophy with his dad Mike, after winning the PGA Championship golf tournament in a playoff against Will Zalatoris at Southern Hills Country Club, Sunday, May 22, 2022, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Justin Thomas matched a PGA Championship record Sunday when he rallied from a seven-shot deficit at Southern Hills, and then saved his most exquisite shot-making for a three-hole playoff to defeat Will Zalatoris.

He closed with a 3-under 67, matching the low score of a final round made difficult more by nerves than the wind. He seized control in the playoff with a 3-wood to 35 feet on the 301-yard 17th hole for a two-putt birdie.

He tapped in for par and stood erect with a smile, a mixture of joy and disbelief.

Thomas needed plenty of help, and Mito Pereira provided it in a tragic finish. The 27-year-old from Chile, playing in only his second major, took a one-shot lead to the final hole and drove into a creek to make double bogey.

It was the first time since Phil Mickelson at Winged Foot in the 2006 U.S. Open that a player lost a one-shot lead in the final hole to lose a major.

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Zalatoris looked like he had thrown away his chances for a first major — and first PGA Tour victory — when he three-putted from just outside 20 feet on the 16th hole. But he responded with a birdie from the bunker at the 17th and holed an 8-foot par putt on the 18th for a 71.

He joined Thomas at 5-under 275, and they played on when Pereira faltered.

Thomas, who had gone 14 months since his last victory at The Players Championship last year, now has a PGA Tour victory in each of his last eight years and moves to No. 5 in the world.

KORN FERRY TOUR

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Trevor Cone birdied the closing hole at Blue Hills for a 2-under 70 and a one-stroke victory over Taylor Montgomery in the AdventHealth Championship.

It was the second Korn Ferry Tour win for the 29-year-old Cone, who has played the circuit since 2018. He finished at 16-under 272.

MJ Daffue (72) was third, two shots back.

Sam Stevens, who began the day with a one-shot lead, dropped shots on three of his first five holes and made five more bogeys on the back nine to shoot 77. He finished six shots back.

OTHER TOURS

Shugo Imahira won for the second consecutive week on the Japan Golf Tour, defeating Tomohiro Kondu and Tomoharu Otsuki with a birdie on the second playoff hole at the Golf Partner Pro-Am. Kondu shot 11-under 59 to get into the playoff, the second sub-60 score of the week. Yuta Ikeda shot 59 in the opening round and finished three shots out of the playoff. ... Jens Dantorp closed with a 6-under 66 to cap off a bogey-free weekend and win the Challenge de Espana by three shots over Victor Pastor. It was Dantorp’s third Challenge Tour title, and first in five years. ... Tiia Koivisto of Finland had a 5-under 66, and made a 6-foot birdie on the first playoff hole to beat Whitney Hiller of Australia and win her first Ladies European Tour title at the Jabra Ladies Open. ... Albert Venter closed with a 66 and won the FBC Zimbabwe Open in a playoff with a 15-foot birdie putt at Royal Harare. He defeated Stefan Wears-Taylor and Louis Albertse in on the first extra hole. ... Grace Kim closed with a 7-under 64 for a five-shot win over Hyo Joon Jang and Sarah Jane Smith in the IOA Golf Classic on the Epson Tour.

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