CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) – Justin Thomas capped off a major season that belonged to an aggressive new breed of fearless young Americans when he stormed to a two-stroke victory at the PGA Championship on Sunday.
At 24, he followed in the footsteps of then-23-year-old Jordan Spieth’s British Open triumph and the U.S. Open victory by 27-year-old Brooks Koepka, suggesting a bright future for American golf.
Thomas, one of the longest drivers on tour, started the final major of the year ranked 14th in the world, not one of the favorites after recent poor form, but came through by executing under pressure as many of his rivals withered.
“I just had an unbelievable calmness throughout the week, throughout the day,” Thomas said after lifting the Wanamaker Trophy. “I really truly felt I was going to win. I was just very confident. I didn’t get flustered.
“I was a lot more calm than I thought I would be. I thought I would be very shaky. At one point I looked at my hand it was a little shaky but that’s why you play.”
The serenity served Thomas well after a slow start, as he bided his time before vaulting to the front with four birdies in a sizzling seven-hole stretch mid-round.
He then held firm over the dangerous final water-lined three holes, known as the ‘Green Mile’, hoisting a seven-iron to 15-foot at the par-three 17th before sinking the putt to all but secure victory, a bogey at the last academic as he carded 68 to finish at eight-under 276.