Justin Thomas closes out Tournament of Champions win in Hawaii

By The Sports Xchange  |  Jan. 9, 2017 at 8:31 AM
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Justin Thomas already has his calendar marked for the first weekend of 2018.

"I know I'm coming back here next year, so I couldn't be more excited about that," he said after posting a three-shot victory Sunday in the SBS Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Hawaii.

Thomas shot a 4-under-par 69 in the final round Sunday to finish at 22-under 270, making him the first qualifier for next year's Tournament of Champions.

Birdies on the final two holes allowed Thomas to hold off Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, who shot a 70 in his final round on the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort.

"It's a great feeling," Thomas said. "Obviously, I stumbled a little more than I would have liked to on some of those holes, but it really shows where my game is at right now. I had some woes there ... but I stuck it out to still get it done."

Thomas, who possessed a two-shot lead after three rounds, delivered seven birdies on Sunday. That helped him overcome a bogey on No. 10 and a double bogey on No. 15.

"I was very comfortable," Thomas said. "I hit a lot of really quality shots. The two shots I hit on 17 and those ones on 18 were nice."

The victory was the third on the PGA Tour for the 23-year-old Thomas, his second in the 2016-17 season. He captured the CIMB Classic at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in October.

Matsuyama birdied the 18th hole but pretty much took himself out of contention with a bogey on the par-4 17th hole. He three-putted the hole, including a missed 4-foot par putt.

Matsuyama's highlight of the day was an eagle on the par-4 14th hole. He also recorded four birdies and three bogeys.

In his past six events between the Japan Golf Tour and the PGA Tour, Matsuyama has four wins and two runner-up finishes. He won the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, the unofficial Hero World Challenge and two Japanese events, and he came in second behind Thomas at the CIMB Classic and the Tournament of Champions.

Jordan Spieth shot a blistering 8-under 65 to finish in a three-way tie for third at 16-under 276. Spieth fired eight birdies during a bogey-free round.

Pat Perez (67) and Ryan Moore (71) also were at 276.

Dustin Johnson (69), Patrick Reed (70) and Brendan Steele (71) tied for sixth place at 277.

PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker shared ninth place at 278, and Australian Jason Day (70) tied for 12th at 279.

The tournament's 32-player field consisted entirely of PGA Tour winners in the 2016 calendar year.

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