When he least anticipated it, Justin Thomas became a huge champion.
Thomas won the PGA Championship after a comeback from a seven-shot deficit at Southern Hills on Sunday(5/22/22). He saved his best shots for a playoff against Will Zalatoris, which he won in three holes.
A nerve-wracking final round saw him shoot a 3-under-par 67 to match the low score of the day. With a 3-wood to 35 feet on the 301-yard 17th hole for a two-putt birdie, he took the lead in the playoff.
Even in the face of tragedy, Mito Pereira was there for Thomas when he needed him the most. The 27-year-old Chilean had a one-shot lead going into the final hole before hitting his drive into a stream and making a double bogey. This was only his second major appearance.
In 2006, Phil Mickelson at Winged Foot in the US Open squandered a one-shot lead in the final hole to lose the tournament by one stroke.
Following last year’s Players Championship victory, Thomas has now won on the PGA Tour each of the previous eight years and has moved up to No. 5 in the world.
It was only the second playoff in eight majors at Southern Hills, and the first time a player came back from a deficit to win. The 2001 U.S. Open was won by Retief Goosen, who three-putted the final hole from 12 feet for a par. Unlike Pereira, he was given a second opportunity.
Seven major championships have been held at Southern Hills, and six of the former winners are in the World Golf Hall of Fame. The 29-year-old Thomas, who has 15 PGA Tour victories to his credit, is already well on his way to that goal.