Chilean Mito Pereira went out to lead the final round of the PGA Championship. Although he did not shine in terms of play and lost a few strokes, he kept his lead throughout the round. When he got to the 18th tee, he led with one stroke and had everything in his own hands.
Then Pereira lost focus at the shot and after a strange swing, the ball ended up in the water. The victory and a place in the special game disappeared and it became a double bogey for Pereira who fell to a shared third place.
– Of course it hurts, but as a whole I am very happy with this week. I came here on Monday and hoped that I would pass the qualifying limit, today I wanted to win but unfortunately it did not happen, Pereira said after the round.
In the clubhouse, Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris were waiting, both under par, and after Pereira’s collapse, it was clear that they would make up for the victory in a special game over three holes.
Justin Thomas started the PGA Championship with two 67 rounds. On Saturday he did not get to the same fine game and after 74 strokes he lost to seventh place. He was seven strokes behind Pereira before the final round when the fine game came back and Thomas went on 67 strokes again.
Will Zalatoris was in the lead after 36 holes but just like Thomas he lost the third round. On Sunday, Zalatoris was the player who put the most pressure on Pereira, but without impressing. Zalatoris went one over par and it was enough for a special game against Justin Thomas.
The special game took place on hole 13 (par 5), hole 17 (par 4) and hole 18 (par 4).
Both made a birdie at 13. At 17, Justin Thomas took command with a birdie while Zalatoris made par. They then each had a birdie putt on the last special play hole. Zalatoris missed his and Thomas thus had two putts for victory in the championship. He missed the birdie but put good speed on the putt and could then tap the ball for the second major title of his career and victory in the PGA Championship. He also won in 2017.
– I had no feeling in my legs when I went forward to put in the ball. Putting two from that distance is no wonder in ordinary cases, but putting down when you know you can putt for victory… I was very happy that the ball stayed so close to the hole. Earlier this week, I was asked which line is safe. No management, I replied. It’s so hard here. But if you hit the fairway, you can make birdies. Bones (the caddy) did an excellent job of keeping me focused today, says Justin Thomas.
Second place Will Zalatoris has two second places and a total of five top-10 places in only eight major starts.
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