BMW Championship: Justin Thomas wins by three to bag 16/1 winner

Justin Thomas celebrates
Justin Thomas celebrates

Justin Thomas fended off a sustained challenge from Patrick Cantlay and Hideki Matsuyama to win the BMW Championship by three shots.

Leaderboard

-25 Thomas

-22 Cantlay

-20 Matsuyama

-18 Finau

-16 Rahm, Snedeker


Day four report

Justin Thomas fended off a sustained challenge from Patrick Cantlay and Hideki Matsuyama to win the BMW Championship by three shots.

After Saturday's course-record 61, Thomas went into the final round with a six-shot lead which was at one stage cut to two by Cantlay as two of the best players in the world produced an absorbing tussle.

In the end, Cantlay could never quite get close enough to land a killer blow, and when his eagle try at the 15th hole missed it was clear that Thomas would be sealing his 10th PGA Tour title as our golf expert Ben Coley bagged back-to-back winners.

Victory sends Thomas to East Lake at the top of the FedEx Cup standings as he goes in search of a second multi-million dollar bonus in the last three years, and he will start the final event of the season on 10-under owing to a new scoring system which will be introduced next week.

Cantlay will begin the TOUR Championship in second place on eight-under after birdies at the final two holes saw him take second at Matsuyama's expense.

Tony Finau boosted his hopes of a Presidents Cup wild card with fourth place but captain Tiger Woods' season is over after he finished down the field, meaning he will not be able to defend his title in Georgia.

Starting the day at 21-under, Thomas produced a nervy drive at the first and ran up a bogey, but birdies at the fifth and seventh holes ensured he remained four clear at the turn.

At the 10th, however, a hooked approach resulted in a bogey six and with Cantlay making birdie, the lead had been halved as Thomas felt the heat of battle after a year without silverware.

Then came a vital run, as he birdied the 11th hole from thick rough and an impossible angle, salvaged par after another sliced drive at the 12th, and then followed Cantlay in for a birdie at the short 13th.

With the lead three, there was one more swing from Cantlay as he drove the 15th green, but missing an eagle try there momentarily took the wind out of his sails and he followed it with a bogey to end the contest at the 16th.

With Thomas now able to pick his spots, Cantlay fired a brilliant approach to the 17th and made birdie before rolling in a long-range putt at the final hole.

However, Thomas again had the final say, making one more birdie of his own for a round of 68 and a convincing victory.

Day three report

Justin Thomas took command of the BMW Championship with a superb 11-under 61 to shatter the Medinah course record and open up a six-stroke lead heading into the final round.

The American, who was tipped up at 16/1 by our Ben Coley, had produced a first-round 65 in Illinois to equal the record along with Jason Kokrak, before Japanese player Hideki Matsuyama then shot an impressive nine-under-par 63 on Friday.

However, while Matsuyama faltered with a bogey-heavy 73 to drop out of contention at 11-under, Thomas signed for a 61 - which included two eagles and could have been even lower but for a dropped shot at the par-four sixth.

The world number 10, USPGA Championship winner two years ago, heads into Sunday at 21-under, with compatriots Tony Finau - also selected by our Ben Coley at 40/1 each-way - and Patrick Cantlay in joint second place after their respective 68s.

"It's just one of those freaky days when you get in the zone," Thomas told the Golf Channel.

"I hit the ball pretty unbelievable. It's not like I made any long putts. I hit it close to the hole and took advantage of some opportunities when I had them and got a couple good breaks.

"That's the stuff that happens when you shoot 11 under."

Slovakian Rory Sabbatini sits at 14-under following a 67, picking up six birdies on the back nine.

Spain's Jon Rham was a big mover after a 66 left him at 13-under, one clear of American Brandt Snedeker, who is in a group on 12-under with Rickie Fowler a stroke further back after a 68.

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, sank five birdies for his 67 after successive rounds of 71 to climb to seven-under.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy is at 10-under after a 70, alongside Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, who hit a double-bogey five on the second hole before recovering.

World number one Brooks Koepka dropped down the standings after a 72, two bogeys leaving him at five-under overall.

England's Justin Rose shot a 73 and fell back to two-under, but compatriot Paul Casey's 67 saw him climb to nine-under.

Meanwhile Tiger Woods has work to do if he's to qualify for the Tour Championship despite an encouraging bogey free round of 67.

The Masters champion needs to finish 11th or better but he's currently tied 31st.

Day two report

A day after both Justin Thomas and Jason Kokrak equalled the Medinah course record, Hideki Matsuyama broke it by two shots with an astonishing nine-under-par 63.

In doing so, the 27-year-old Japan player also took the BMW Championship lead after round two.

Matsuyama hit nine birdies and no bogeys to move to 12-under overall, one shot in front of Americans Patrick Cantlay and Tony Finau.

"It seemed like every birdie chance I had I made the putt," Matsuyama told reporters.

Thomas shot a three-under 69 to move to 10-under overall, but fellow overnight leader Kokrak had a less successful day and fell back to six under after a one-over 73.

After going around in 66, England's Tommy Fleetwood moved up to eight under alongside Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who shot 67.

Tiger Woods's form remains inconsistent, getting five birdies but also four bogeys in a second consecutive round of 71.

Brooks Koepka also scored a 71, moving the world number one to five under overall.

England's Justin Rose shot a 73 and fell back to three under, one behind his compatriots Paul Casey and Ian Poulter.

Day one report

Justin Thomas and Jason Kokrak both equalled the course record with seven-under 65s to top the leader board after the first round of the BMW Championship.

Tiger Woods had a poor day, though, and finished six off the pace at Medinah Country Club in Illinois.

Thomas said he had had a terrible warm-up before the first round.

"I mean, I probably would say that I had the worst warm-up I've ever had in my life this morning," he told reporters.

"I didn't know what it was going to do. I didn't know how I was going to hit it. My dad [caddie Jimmy Johnson] and I just kind of said that we were going to have to guess out there and just try to find something."

He ended the day with seven birdies, a joint course record and joint lead.

As well as Thomas and Kokrak, three other players have shot 65 at Medinah: Skip Kendall at the 1999 PGA Championship, and Mike Weir and winner Tiger Woods at the 2006 PGA.

Woods, who got two of his 15 major championship wins at Medinah, started well with three birdies on the first five holes.

He got one more birdie before the day was out, but also three bogeys.

"Didn't chip it, didn't make that many putts and consequently I'm one under," Woods told reporters.

"It's just not sharp, I'm trying to make changes in my swing and it's just not quite there yet.

"I need reps and I just haven't put in a lot of reps.

"I didn't feel any tightness in my oblique at all, I didn't feel any pull and so that was a positive, I just need to clean up my rounds and get going."

Englishman Justin Rose finished the day on four under, with Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy one further back on three-under 69.

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