Justin Thomas Claims Emotional Players Championship

Justin Thomas Claims Emotional Players Championship

Justin Thomas Players
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After the passing of his grandfather just a month ago, Justin Thomas added The Players Championship to his incredibly impressive resume, claiming the title by one shot from Lee Westwood.

Justin Thomas Makes History At Players Championship

After an incredibly emotional two months for Justin Thomas following the loss of his grandfather, the American claimed victory at The Players Championship.

The victory was also an historic one at TPC Sawgrass. His final round 68 makes him only the fourth player to ever win a Major, WGC event, FedEx Cup and Players Championship, joining Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson.

Justin Thomas Players

Thomas joins an exclusive group with victory. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Thomas had started the day three shots back of overnight leader, Lee Westwood, and seven pars in his first seven holes wasn't what he was looking for.

Westwood had been paired with Bryson DeChambeau for the second consecutive final round and started his day perfectly, birdieing the first hole to extend his lead to three.

The Englishman would find trouble on the next hole, though, bringing his lead back to two, before a crazy fourth hole saw DeChambeau top his drive into the drink and Westwood following him into the water also.

Related: WATCH: Bryson DeChambeau Tops It At The Players Championship

A bogey and birdie at the eighth and ninth holes meant that Westwood would lead by one going into the back nine.

Justin Thomas Players

Westwood had been leading by two shots at the start of the round. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Thomas, on the other hand, had three-putted on the eighth, but found his first birdie of the round at the par-5 ninth to start a simply incredible run.

The American followed up his birdie at nine, with a further one at the 10th. Thomas then produced a stunning eagle at the 11th and then a further birdie at the 12th to move five-under through the four hole stretch.

Now holding a two-shot lead, it seemed that Thomas would cruise to the title, but a short missed putt on the 14th halved the deficit and, to make things worse, Westwood would birdie the same hole to tie the lead.

Despite the missed putt, Thomas remained strong, making birdie at the 16th hole and parring in to finish with a four-under-par round of 68 and 14-under-par tournament total.

With Westwood failing to birdie the par-5 16th and three-putting the famous 17th hole, it would mean he would need an eagle on the last to force a playoff.

The 47-year-old couldn't manage it, though, picking up the second best prize of birdie to finish outright second and pick up a runners-up cheque for $1.6 million.

Justin Thomas Players

DeChambeau had eagled the 16th but was to far back to challenge. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Speaking after his round, Thomas said: "I'm so happy the fans are back and I'm so happy to be a Players champion. I fought so hard and stayed so patient, and it was definitely one of the best rounds of my life; especially tee to green.

"I had been replaying what [Tiger] had been saying in my head, and I'm so glad to hear everything has been going well with him. I just wish he was here so I could rub it in his face a little bit.

"But he's so nice to me and Bryson and so many guys on Tour. If you had been telling us when we were 15 to 20-years-old that Tiger Woods would be texting us the night before a tournament, it'd be pretty cool."

Speaking about his grandfather's influence, a teary Thomas said: "My grandfather was with me a lot today. I just wish I could talk to him, but I know he's watching."

It would be heartbreak for Westwood yet again, with the Englishman's level-par round meaning he'd miss out by a single shot. The 47-year-old will be pleased with his recent form though, claiming back-to- runner-up finishes.


Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x