TULSA, Okla. — The dominant story line earlier than the 2022 P.G.A. Championship revolved round Phil Mickelson, who turned the oldest main champion final yr when he gained the occasion at age 50 however selected to not defend his title this yr. Then the main target of the match shifted to Tiger Woods, 46, who got here to the Southern Hills Nation Membership to renew his stirring comeback from accidents sustained in a horrific automobile crash 15 months in the past. However Woods struggled bodily, and mired in final place after three rounds, he withdrew earlier than Sunday’s remaining spherical.
What advanced as a substitute on the final day of this yr’s P.G.A. Championship was one more dramatic showdown between the dazzling, hard-swinging 20-somethings overtaking elite golf.
In a three-hole combination playoff after Sunday’s 18-hole fourth spherical resulted in a tie, Justin Thomas, 29, held off the rising star Will Zalatoris, 25, to win his second P.G.A. Championship. Thomas, who entered Sunday’s fourth spherical seven strokes out of the lead, additionally gained the 2017 P.G.A. Championship.
Thomas and Zalatoris started the playoff with birdies on the primary playoff gap, the thirteenth. On the reachable par-4, 302-yard seventeenth gap, Thomas drove the inexperienced and had a prolonged putt for eagle that got here up 3 ft brief. Zalatoris’s drive on the seventeenth was simply off the inexperienced and his flop shot stopped 8 ft from the outlet. His birdie putt skidded previous the outlet, and Zalatoris tapped in for par.
With the prospect to grab the benefit, Thomas rattled in his birdie putt for a one-stroke edge heading into the third playoff gap, which was the 18th.
Each golfers reached the 18th inexperienced in two. Zalatoris couldn’t covert a birdie putt and Thomas wanted solely two putts for a par that clinched the championship.
It was the primary playoff in a serious championship because the 2017 Masters.
At numerous occasions within the latter levels of the fourth spherical, each Thomas and Zalatoris appeared incapable of catching Mito Pereira, who was the third-round chief and appeared poised to grow to be the primary golfer from Chile to win a serious championship.
Pereira, enjoying in simply his second main championship, held a one-stroke lead getting into the 18th gap. However he sliced his tee shot on the ultimate gap right into a small creek adjoining to the golf green. After a penalty shot drop from the water, Pereira’s strategy shot discovered the thick tough alongside the inexperienced. His chip from there trundled far throughout the inexperienced till it stopped within the fringe on the other facet of the inexperienced. Pereira, 27, made double bogey, which dropped him right into a tie for third place with the American Cameron Younger.
Zalatoris has a wealth of main championship expertise regardless of being on the PGA Tour for simply three seasons. He completed second eventually yr’s Masters and was tied for sixth at that occasion final month. He was tied for eighth on the 2021 P.G.A. Championship and tied for sixth on the 2020 U.S. Open.
However on Sunday, Zalatoris, after an even-par entrance 9, was hampered by poor placing, one thing that has plagued him all season. He bogeyed the twelfth and sixteenth holes, however rallied when he took an aggressive line off the tee on the reachable par-4 seventeenth gap. His ball tumbled right into a greenside bunker, however he escaped with a deft sand shot that stopped 8 ft from the pin. Zalatoris steadied his nerves and sank the putt for birdie. He closed by making a 10-foot putt to avoid wasting par on the remaining gap to shoot 71 and end at 5 beneath par total. On the time, although, it didn’t look like sufficient to catch Pereira.
Justin Thomas almost certainly completed his spherical with the identical feeling. He began Sunday seven strokes behind Pereira, however made a dramatic surge after enjoying the primary eight holes in a single over par. After a birdie on the ninth gap and a par on the tenth, Thomas’s tee shot on the par-3 eleventh gap was barely wanting the inexperienced.
Thomas then sank the birdie putt from 64 ft. On the par-4 twelfth, he sank an 18-foot birdie putt for birdie. Thomas missed consecutive makable birdie putts on the thirteenth and 14th, however then splashed a shot from a greenside bunker on the par-4 seventeenth gap to inside 3 ft, a distance he efficiently negotiated for his fifth birdie of the day. That might put him inside one stroke of Pereira with one gap to play. An excellent drive and a brave strategy shot to the elevated 18th inexperienced stopped 11 ft behind the outlet, however Thomas’s putt slid previous the best edge for a par and a rating of 67.