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Justin Thomas rallies from 3 down, wins Players Championship

Justin Thomas picked up four strokes on the leaderboard on the first three holes on the back nine of his final round at the Players Championship on Sunday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Justin Thomas picked up four strokes on the leaderboard on the first three holes on the back nine of his final round at the Players Championship on Sunday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 15 (UPI) -- Justin Thomas used a late eagle and a final round score of 68 to rally from a three-shot deficit and win the 2021 Players Championship by one stroke.

"It means a lot," Thomas told reporters Sunday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. "It's huge championship and very special. It's a tournament I've wanted to win and felt like I was going to win at some point."

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Thomas entered Sunday three shots back of third-round leader Lee Westwood at TPC Sawgrass. He fired an even-par 36 on the front nine. He then carded a birdie on No. 10 and stepped onto the tee box on No. 11.

Thomas proceeded to hit a 293-yard drive down the middle of the fairway. He hit his next shot just 19 feet from the pin. Thomas drained the eagle putt to take his first lead of the tournament at 13-under par.

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Thomas carded two more birdies on Nos. 12 and 16. He made bogey on No. 14, but carded pars on four of the final six holes to hold onto his one-stroke advantage.

"It tested me mentally, physically, emotionally, and I'm very proud of myself for getting it done," Thomas said.

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Lee Westwood was even par over his final 18 holes, 13-under par for the tournament and finished second. Brian Harman and Bryson DeChambeau tied for third at 12-under par. Taloor Gooch and Paul Casey tied for fifth.

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Thomas moved up from No. 3 to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking due to the victory. No. 1 Dustin Johnson tied for 48th. No. 3 Jon Rahm tied for ninth.

The PGA Tour season continues with the Honda Classic from Thursday through Sunday at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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