Golf: Justin Thomas survives 'disaster' to win Tournament of Champions playoff

Reuters Maui, Hawaii, United States Jan 06, 2020, 11.25 AM(IST)

Justin Thomas hoists the trophy after the final round in the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Justin Thomas won in the play-off against Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele to win the Sentry Tournament of Champion's Trophy.

Justin Thomas survived a "disaster" at the 72nd hole before beating Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele in a three-way playoff at the PGA Tour's Sentry Tournament of Champions in windswept Hawaii on Sunday.

Thomas clinched victory with a three-foot birdie at the third extra hole, the par-five 18th, at the Kapalua Plantation course on Maui.

Schauffele was eliminated at the first hole of sudden death while Reed fell two holes later as the 26-year-old Thomas earned his 12th PGA Tour victory.

He had one hand on the trophy with a one-shot lead playing the final hole of regulation but hooked his three-wood second shot into a penalty area and could not find his ball in the waist-high tropical grass.

He made a bogey for a four-under-par 69, while Schauffele had a three-putt par, missing a seven-footer for the win, and carded 70.

They fell into a playoff with Reed, who earlier shot 66, at 14-under 278.

"For some reason I was supposed to win this week," Thomas said in a greenside interview after sinking his winning putt in semi-darkness.

"I got very, very lucky to even have that putt. I got very fortunate, but I also stuck to my process and tried to stay positive.

"Through 15 holes it was one of the best rounds I've ever played. I was in such control, tee to green, putting beautiful, my irons were awesome and then 18 was a disaster. It worked out so I can't complain."

Reed three-putted the second extra hole from the fringe and then missed an eight-foot birdie at the third playoff hole, his mood hardly helped when a spectator screamed "cheater" as his ball slid by the hole.

Reed has been in the spotlight since being hit with a two-stroke penalty for improving his lie in a waste bunker during last month's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

Schauffele, who had been on the verge of successfully defending his title, said: "I should have won it.

"I know it, everyone knows it. I should have closed it out and didn't.

"I kind of did everything I was supposed to until the last moment.

"I know I'm good enough to hang with the best. I just need to be a little smarter when the time is right and I would have closed it out."