Justin Thomas was under pressure coming down the stretch at Kapalua in Hawaii on Sunday, but set up his victory at the Tournament of Champions when he fired a 214-yard approach to three feet at the 17th.
Things heated up when Thomas double bogeyed the 15th, which cut his lead to a single stroke, but the young American birdied the final two holes to secure the win.
‘I stumbled more than I would have liked to do,’ he said. ‘But it shows where my game is at right now. I had some woes there, but I stuck it out to still get it done.’
The 23 year old won the CIMB Classic at the end of last year and began 2017 in equally potent style, claiming a three-stroke victory on 22 under par in Hawaii.
Hideki Matsuyama took his second runner-up result in six starts, the other four results all being wins, but was unable to capitalise on a chip-in for eagle at the 14th that put him within striking distance.
‘Justin had a little trouble at 15 and then I was really in it,’ said the 24 year old. ‘But my putter let me down there at 16, 17 and 18. ‘I tipped my hat to Justin. He played well all day long. Had a little hiccup there at 15, but I just say congratulations to him. He deserved it.’
Jordan Spieth came back into focus with a Sunday 65 that gave him a share of third place alongside Pat Perez and Ryan Moore, while Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Brendan Steele shared sixth.
Branden Grace had a tough week in his maiden Tournament of Champions and shot 75 on Sunday to finish 32nd in the limited-field event.
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