HONOLULU – Justin Thomas lapped the field at Waialae Country Club, closing with his second-consecutive 65 to finish seven strokes clear of Justin Rose for his fourth PGA Tour title, and, despite the margin of victory, there were no shortage of highlights on Sunday.
Justin Thomas and his father, Mike, have a tradition. For every event the 23-year-old has won, from his junior golf days all the way to his Tour career, the duo puts the winning golf ball in a display rack.
His victory on Sunday at the Sony Open brings that number to 130 golf balls, but after becoming the seventh player in Tour history to shoot a sub-60 round on Thursday (59) he suggested he might put that ball in there as well, but Mike Thomas had other plans.
“No, no. We’ll find a nice display [for the 59 ball], but that doesn’t go in the case,” Mike Thomas said.
On Saturday, Steve Stricker tweeted, “The only common denominator is the caddie [Jimmy Johnson]! Must be the caddie!”
Stricker was referring to Thomas’ 54-hole total (188), which tied the lowest three-round mark on Tour that was set by Stricker at the 2010 John Deere Classic when Johnson, who now caddies for Thomas, worked for him.
On Sunday, after Thomas finished with a 72-hole record total (253), Johnson recalled that he was also working for Stricker at the 2009 Bob Hope Classic when his boss played his first four rounds in 255 strokes, which was 33 under par (par 72) and is still the Tour record in relation to par.
Jordan Spieth conceded that he felt like he was playing another event than the one Thomas won. Thomas began the final round with a seven-shot lead and never led by less than five strokes.
Justin Rose ended up winning the “B” flight with a final-round 64 to finish a touchdown back.
“I won the other tournament,” Rose smiled. “We all knew he was going to be hard to catch today. We all needed help from him. Had he had a bad day, I was there to pick up the pieces. But that was never going to happen.”
The most popular hash tag last week at the Sony Open was #59Watch. Thomas started the trend on Thursday when he eagled his final hole (No. 9) for an opening 59, and Kevin Kisner had a putt for eagle at his final hole on Saturday that would have been for 59 but he failed to convert the 9-footer.
On Sunday, it was Chez Reavie who flirted with the magic number, playing his first 12 holes in 9 under but finishing with a 61. The most telling sign of the times came when Reavie was asked if he started thinking about shooting 58?
“Oh yeah. I just wanted to go as low as I could,” said Reavie, who predicted someone will shot 58 this year on Tour.