Justin Thomas put on a record-breaking comeback to win the US PGA Championship at Southern Hills in a play-off.
Chilean Mito Pereira looked to stun the field and win his first Major title, but missed 18th with a double bogey after hitting his tee shot into a stream.
Pereira’s surrender opened the door for his rivals and Thomas scored a three-under 67 to finish with a five-under to force a playoff with fellow American Will Zatoris.
Thomas, who also won this event in 2017, prevailed in the three-hole shootout and birdied on the 17th to capture his second Major.
Seven points down at the start of the finals, Thomas’s win equaled the record for the biggest comeback win at a major previously held by John Mahaffey after his 1978 US PGA win.
“It was a bizarre day,” Thomas said. “Bone [Thomas’ caddie] did an incredible job of just keeping me in the moment. We just tried to play the golf course as it is.
“It’s funny, I was asked earlier in the week which lead is safe and I said ‘No lead’. This place is so tough. But if you hit the fairways you can make birdies and I was so patient I just couldn’t believe I was in a playoff.
England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick finished three strokes and two off the lead, while Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland finished eighth, two strokes.
Overnight leader Pereira, ranked No. 100 in the world, would have been Chile’s first big winner but blew his chances in 18th place.
“I do not know what happened. I thought I hit it really well,” said the 27-year-old. “On Monday I just wanted to do the editing. I just wanted to win on Sunday.”
Zlatoris – who was beaten by Thomas in the play-off – added: “I’ve been knocking on the door at these majors for a while and one is coming soon.
“It hurts to make one too short, but I know we’ll have one soon.”
Meanwhile, England’s Fitzpatrick admitted his failure to win the PGA Championship was “hard to take” as he carded 73 in the final round to be eliminated from the contest.
A level par 70 would have seen Fitzpatrick finish six under and lift the trophy, but he struggled on Sunday and finished fourth jointly.
“It’s hard to take,” he said. “I just didn’t hit well, it wasn’t a good day.
“It’s disappointing to know you’re two shots from a playoff and feel like you have the game to make the playoff and keep winning.
“I hit level par and I win it right away. If someone had said that before the round, I would have prepared for it. You know your goal and you achieve it. It wasn’t the day I wanted and unfortunately it is.”
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/23/justin-thomas-equals-record-win-pga-championship-rival-implodes-16690042/ Justin Thomas sets record to win PGA Championship after Mito Pereira implodes in 18th | Soccer