Published: Mon, August 06, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Thomas doesn't break sweat in winning finale at Firestone

Thomas doesn't break sweat in winning finale at Firestone

Justin Thomas turned on the jets midway through the third round and opened a three-stroke lead at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio on Saturday.

Of course, a four-shot win at Firestone and a first World Golf Championship victory will make that angst go away quickly.

Thomas gave himself breathing room when he converted from 10 feet at the 13th as Stanley slipped five shots behind when he followed birdies at 10 and 12 with back-to-back bogeys.

The trio made the most of flawless morning scoring conditions, finishing the second round on 11-under 129, two strokes in front of American Kyle Stanley, who carded a 68 and Australian Jason Day, who produced a four-under 66 in the afternoon.

Thomas began the final round with a three-shot lead over McIlroy and Ian Poulter, and his goal was to minimize his mistakes while forcing the other players to catch him.

At one stage, Day rocketed into a tie for second courtesy of an incredible hole-out for birdie at the par-three 15th.

He hit only five of 14 fairways and just 10 of 18 greens but had his fewest putts of the week with 27. That allowed him to regain the lead over Anthony Quayle, who had made eagle on the same hole moments earlier and closed with a 63.

"I got a little choked up when I saw grandma and grandpa over there", Thomas said. I don't know. I was very nervous, very jittery.

Thomas said he told caddie Jimmy Johnson, "We can't see pin, hit pin". "I felt a little bit more sharp, or a little bit more so than I did yesterday". "I think it's going to be great prep for next week as well, so I'll obviously be fully engaged to try to win this tournament but knowing that if I play well tomorrow, it puts me in the right frame of mind going into next week as well (for USPGA Championship)". "Today I didn't drive it quite as well, didn't putt quite as good as I wanted to".

"It was very honest", Johnson said of Tuesday's team meeting.

"I'm going to have a chance", Poulter said.

His grandparents, Paul and Phyllis Thomas, watched him win for the first time on the PGA Tour. The prize pool was increased slightly this year and the purse now ranks sixth among PGA Tour events in 2018, behind only the four majors and The Players Championship.

He said the victory was particularly special given his grandfather, who played in the 1960 US PGA Championship at Firestone, was in the gallery. He would make just one par on the back nine to go along with three birdies, three bogeys and two double-bogeys for a four-over 40.

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