Thomas takes Honda playoff to top FedExCup
February 25, 2018
By Sean Martin , PGATOUR.COM
- February 25, 2018
Justin Thomas wins in 1st playoff hole at Honda
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Two playoffs. Two victories.
Justin Thomas’ FedExCup defense is off to an impressive start after he won another title in extra holes. The Honda Classic was Thomas’ second win of the season and allowed the reigning FedExCup champion to take the lead in this season’s standings.
He also won this season’s CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in October, needing two extra holes to beat Marc Leishman in South Korea.
Thomas needed just one this time.
He hit 5-wood onto the green of PGA National’s 18th hole and two-putted for birdie to walk away with his eighth career victory. Luke List drove into the trees right of the fairway, laid up into the left rough and hit a wedge shot to 17 feet. He couldn’t convert the birdie putt, though.
“It’s never easy. I would just say I’m becoming more comfortable,” Thomas said. “I embrace these situations. I love these situations. I love the opportunity to win. There’s a lot of great people I had to beat today. It was very difficult.”
On a day when as many as four players shared the lead, Thomas and List finished regulation tied at 8-under 272. Thomas fired a final-round 68, while List, the 54-hole leader, was one shot higher Sunday.
They played alongside each other in Sunday’s final group and both birdied 18 to force extra holes. In regulation, it was Thomas who had to lay up and List who reached the green in two shots. Thomas hit his 117-yard wedge shot a couple feet from the hole, while List two-putted for birdie.
Thomas has now won seven of his past 31 TOUR starts (23 percent). He and Patton Kizzire are the only two multiple winners this season. With 1,258 FedExCup points, Thomas holds an 11-point advantage over Kizzire. No one has ever won back-to-back FedExCups; Tiger Woods (2007, ’09) is the only two-time winner.
The CJ CUP and Honda Classic are the only two playoffs of Thomas’ career. He ended both with a birdie on a par-5 after going for the green in two.
“They both had water around the green, hitting the fairway was pivotal, … and they both had a very similar wind direction in terms of hitting the shots into the greens,” Thomas said. “Both in Korea and here, I was confident enough in my game to where I could just kind of step up and hit a golf shot.”
Justin Thomas interview after winning Honda
Rory McIlroy, the 2012 Honda Classic champion, maintained an unfortunate streak at PGA National. McIlroy shot four consecutive over-par rounds this week, finishing T59 at 9-over 289 (72-72-73-72). He’s now posted nine consecutive over-par rounds at PGA National, shooting 24 over in that stretch.
Alex Noren once again flirted with his first PGA TOUR victory. The Swede, who lost a playoff to Jason Day at the Farmers Insurance Open, finished one shot out of the playoff. The third-place finish moved him to 19th in the FedExCup standings.
Tiger Woods twice got within four shots of the lead Sunday, but his rally stalled both times. Woods finished at even-par 280 to finish 12th. He reached 3 under par after a birdie at the 14th hole, but hit his tee shot on the par-3 15th into the water to sink his chances. Click here to read more about his round.
Sam Burns, the 22-year-old Web.com Tour rookie who played Sunday alongside Woods, shot a bogey-free 68 to finish T8 and earn a spot in the Valspar Championship. Burns has earned 122 non-member FedExCup points in four starts this season. It took 365 points to earn a card last year. He's also 13th on the Web.com Tour money list after finishin T2 earlier this month at the Club Colombia Championship.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Justin Thomas' thrilling approach is the Shot of the Day
QUOTABLESIt hurts right now, but I think that when I look back on it I’ll be proud of the way I hung in there.Got crickets last night. I knew he had one thing in mind.It’s so much fun playing those nine holes. You’ve got so much adrenaline. I’m very nervous. But you just want to get that win.
CALL OF THE DAY
Lowest round – Byeong-Hun An and Derek Fathauer both shot 5-under 65 on Sunday. An finished T5 to jump from 106th to 75th in the FedExCup. Fathauer leapt from 54th to 13th place after making birdies on four of his final five holes. He moved from 104th to 92nd in the FedExCup.
Longest drive – Rory McIlroy cranked one 367 yards on the par-4 second hole. He hit his 100-yard approach shot to 6 feet but missed the birdie putt.
Longest putt – Martin Piller holed a birdie putt of 59 feet, 9 inches on the par-3 seventh hole. He shot 32 on the front nine Sunday, but fired 40 on the back nine to finish 67th.
Hardest hole – The 466-yard, par-4 sixth hole played to a 4.37 scoring average. There were as many birdies (8) as double-bogeys in the final round. There was one triple-bogey, as well.
Easiest hole – The 547-yard, par-5 18th played to a 4.57 scoring average Sunday. There were two eagles and 34 birdies on the hole.
Bogey free-rounds – Michael Thompson and Sam Burns both shot bogey-free 68s Sunday. Thompson finished T24, while Burns, a 22-year-old Web.com Tour rookie, finished T8 to earn a spot in the Valspar Championship.