Heading into the final two days of the Players Championship, Justin Thomas was down seven shots to the leader and put on an incredible performance to win this tournament for the first time in his career.
The tournament started slow for Thomas, shooting a 1 under par 71 on Thursday. He double-bogeyed the famous 17th hole, which is a beautiful par 3 that requires players to hit their shot over the water onto an island green. Several players recorded large scores on this hole, even though it is a short shot for PGA player’s standards. Thomas had the same score after round two with another double bogey on his scorecard. Several big names on the PGA Tour did not make the cut for the weekend including Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, and Rory Mcilroy. Mcilroy had a dreadful first round including making an 8 on the 18th hole.
Lee Westwood was the leader of the tournament at 9 under par heading into Saturday. Thomas was seven shots behind starting the day and shot an impressive 8 under par 64 to put himself in contention for Sunday. His score on Saturday was only one shot off the course record, which is a 63.
The final pairing on Sunday was Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau, with Thomas being one group ahead of them and three shots behind the leader. This was the second week in a row both of these players were in the final group. DeChambeau was able to win the event last weekend, so many were anticipating a competitive day of golf in the final group. Instead of a fantastic matchup, both players struggled most of the day. DeChambeau missed his tee shot so badly on one hole that the ball barely got off the ground. The funny thing about this was how the shot tracer glitched when he hit the ball. This is a mistake that is usually never seen on the golf course by PGA professionals. He was still able to finish the day with a 1 under par 71, but that was not enough to beat the surging Justin Thomas. Westwood did not have a great day either since he shot an even par 72 to end the tournament.
Thomas had a slow start to his final round because he finished the front nine at even par, but he quickly started to heat up by starting the back nine with a birdie, eagle, and another birdie. That is four shots gained on the leader right there, and that is all he needed to win the Players Championship. He made a bogey a few holes later, then came back and made a birdie on the 16th hole, which is one of the easier holes on the course. Thomas had a few close calls on the 17th and 18th holes. On hole 17 he hit his ball over the water onto the green, but he had a long distance to the hole, He was able to two-putt and make a par heading into the final hole. His tee shot on hole 18 was nerve-wracking because it started heading towards the water in the air, then it got an amazing bounce away from the water as the ball hit the ground. Thomas was able to hit his second shot on the green and two-putt to win the 2021 Players Championship. More information and statistics from the Players Championship can be found here.