Justin Thomas records all-time PGA low at Sony Open

By The Sports Xchange  |  Jan. 16, 2017 at 7:43 AM
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Justin Thomas etched his name into the PGA Tour record book on Sunday by carding the lowest 72-hole score in history to complete a wire-to-wire win at the Sony Open in Honolulu.

Thomas clinched his second straight tournament victory, third of the season and fourth career by finishing with a 27-under-par 253 at Waialae Country Club. His dominant performance resulted in a seven-stroke victory over England's Justin Rose.

The 23-year-old Thomas, who won the SBS Tournament of Champions in Maui last week, followed a record-setting 36-hole performance (123) and matching the tour's 54-hole scoring mark (188) by closing with a 5-under 65. His 253 strokes were one fewer than Tommy Armour III, who shot 254 at the 2003 Texas Open.

Thomas became the first player since Ernie Els to win both events in Hawaii and was the fourth wire-to-wire winner in Sony Open history, not counting ties at the ends of rounds. Howard Twitty (1993), Paul Azinger (2000) and K.J. Choi (2008) accomplished the feat previously.

"I was really nervous this morning," Thomas told Golf Channel. "I had a hard time getting in a comfortable frame of mind. I tried to stay patient. (The record) is awesome. I told (my caddie) with two holes left, 'We need to get one of these last two.' It's been an unbelievable week. Unforgettable."

Thomas overcame a bogey on the fourth hole and recorded five birdies in a seven-hole stretch to run away with the tournament. With the victory, Thomas recorded 500 FedExCup points and moved to No. 1 in the standings ahead of Hideki Matsuyama.

Thomas is projected to rise to a career-best eighth in the rankings, which will be released on Monday.

Thomas became the first player since Tiger Woods to win back-to-back weeks by three strokes or more. Woods accomplished the feat in 2009, winning the Buick Open and Bridgestone Invitational.

Rose birdied three of the final four holes to card a 64 in the final round to fend off Jordan Spieth, whose 63 on Sunday landed him in third at 19-under.

"I honestly felt like I was trying to win the tournament for second place," Spieth said. "JT, it's pretty unbelievable what he's doing right now. He's got full control of his game, full confidence and he's executing under pressure. It's a lot of fun to see."

Fellow Americans Kevin Kisner (65), who shot a 59 on Saturday, and Jamie Lovemark (66) sat one stroke back in a tie for fourth place.

Gary Woodland (67), who finished third in this tournament last season, and 2009 Sony Open champion Zach Johnson (68) ended up in a tie for sixth at 17-under.

Chez Reavie shot a 61 on Sunday to pull into a tie with Charles Howell III (65) at 16-under. Reavie highlighted his round with an ace on the par-3 17th hole from 197 yards out.

Reavie's 61 matched the third-best score of the week.

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