Justin Thomas won his first World Golf Championship Title, carding a closing 69 to claim the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by four shots from fellow American Kyle Stanley.
Justin Thomas wins WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
Justin Thomas made just one bogey in a solid final round of 69 at Firestone CC in Akron, Ohio. He held off the field to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by four strokes.
Thomas began the final round three shots clear of Rory McIlroy and the 25-year-old started his round with a good par save at the 1st hole. He then birdied the second to reach 15-under. He nearly picked up another at the 3rd but then dropped a shot at the 6th to give the chasers a little hope. But he steadied the ship with six straight pars and then birdied the 13th to open up a four-shot lead. He held firm from there, parring his way home to take the title and regain the World Number Two spot.
Thomas will go into next week’s USPGA Championship as defending champion and will do so with great confidence following a win in this event. He was delighted to win at Firestone as this tournament will move on from the iconic venue next season.
“I’m glad I finally played well around here, just in time for it to leave,” said Thomas.
“It was big because I was really nervous today. It felt like it had been a while but I guess it hadn’t really been that long. I don’t know, I was very nervous, very jittery. To make that putt on the first and again on the second just kind of calmed me and got me going for the day. I was in a great spot because it’s hard to attack and make birdies out here when it’s like this. The first two days it would have been a lot harder to hold a three-shot lead than it was today. I felt like if I keep making pars and sprinkle in a couple here and there I’d have a good chance.”
On a difficult final day, Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter struggled. The pair had been just three back of Thomas at the start of the day but a disappointing final round of 73 saw McIlroy drop back into a tie for sixth and a 74 from Poulter meant he ended the week tied 10th.
Dustin Johnson and Thorbjorn Olesen both fired excellent closing rounds of 64 to climb the board and finish in a tie for third. The Dane is hoping to carry the good form he showed on Sunday at Firestone into next week’s USPGA Championship at Bellerive CC.
“Today I felt really comfortable on the greens and approach shots. It’s nice going into next week, hopefully I can keep that going,” he said.
Tiger Woods had been within five of the lead at the halfway stage but he struggled on the weekend with two rounds of 73. He finished in 31st place.
“I was just trying to be as aggressive as possible and fire at everything,” he said. “It was either going to be 62 or 63 or something in the mid 70s. I was just going to be aggressive and see what happens. I was so far back that I had to play a great round just to get in the top‑10. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Firestone CC, Akron, Ohio
Purse: $10,000,000 Par: 70
1 Justin Thomas (USA) 65 64 67 69 265 €1,462,844
2 Kyle Stanley (USA) 63 68 70 68 269 €922,452
T3 Dustin Johnson (USA) 69 71 66 64 270 €438,853
T3 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 71 67 68 64 270 €438,853
5 Brooks Koepka (USA) 66 70 68 67 271 €307,197
T6 Patrick Cantlay (USA) 64 72 68 68 272 €241,375
T6 Anirban Lahiri (Ind) 65 70 69 68 272 €241,375
T6 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 65 67 67 73 272 €241,375
T6 Aaron Wise (USA) 67 71 67 67 272 €241,375
T10 Jason Day (Aus) 65 66 71 68 273 €138,432
T10 Tony Finau (USA) 68 66 71 68 273 €138,432
T10 Si Woo Kim (Kor) 64 68 72 69 273 €138,432
T10 Ian Poulter (Eng) 62 67 70 74 273 €138,432
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage