After another up-and-down day at the CJ Cup, Justin Thomas had just enough left in the tank to outlast Marc Leishman in a playoff and take home his first win of the new season. Here's how things shook out on Sunday during the thrilling conclusion of South Korea’s first PGA Tour event:
Leaderboard: Justin Thomas (-9), Marc Leishman (-9), Cameron Smith (-8), Whee Kim (-6), Anirban Lahiri (-5), Pat Perez (-5), Jaime Lovemark (-5), Brian Harman (-5), Luke List (-5), Scott Brown (-5)
What it means: After a season in which he won the FedExCup title and earned PGA Tour Player of the Year honors, Thomas hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. While his win Sunday was the just his first of the new Tour season, it was the 24-year-old’s sixth victory in his last 25 starts and he’s projected to move to a career high No. 3 in the new world rankings.
Round of the day: No one played a spectacular final round, but the nod has to go to Thomas, the first-ever CJ Cup winner, who hit the clutch shots when he needed to. Thomas got off to a rocky start with a double-bogey 7 on the third hole and made a couple more bogeys on the back nine, but he balanced those out with four birdies, including one on the final hole of regulation to shoot an even-par 72 and force a playoff. Thomas and Leishman split the first playoff hole with pars before JT closed it out with a birdie on his second try.
Best of the rest: Leishman was two shots better than Thomas on the day (2-under 70), but couldn’t capitalize when he needed it most. The three-time PGA Tour winner made a costly mistake with a bogey on 17, but got it right back at 18 to get into the playoff at 9 under. He was ultimately done in after finding the hazard with his second shot on the second playoff hole, finishing with a double-bogey 6. Other than the tournament runner-up, Pat Perez snuck inside the top 10 with a final-round 68. His bogey-free 4-under round was the best in the field on Sunday and the 41-year-old continued his career resurgence after his CIMB Classic win last week.
Biggest disappointment: With a share of the 54-hole lead, Scott Brown was in prime position to pick up his second career PGA Tour win and first since 2013. Instead, the Augusta, Ga., native coughed up his position on top of the leaderboard after back-to-back double bogeys at Nos. 4 and 5 and never recovered. Brown went out in 40 and although he did get a couple of birdies to drop on the back nine, the 34-year-old finished T-5 after a 4-over 76.
Shot of the day: Thomas' approach on the second playoff hole after Leishman was already in the hazard:
Both Thomas and Leishman hit very similar shots into 18 during regulation, setting up the playoff.
Quote of the day: “I just know I’m so excited to not do anything, I officially have nothing left in the tank at the moment.” – Thomas