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Thomas holds nerves to win drama-filled CJ Cup

American to be rewarded with No. 3 ranking for his consistency

Gulf News

Jeju, South Korea: Justin Thomas holed a two-foot birdie putt at the second sudden-death playoff hole Sunday to beat Marc Leishman and win a US PGA Tour title in Asia for the third time.

The pair had finished 72 holes at the CJ Cup in South Korea locked at nine-under par, after both missed eagle putts on the 18th hole of a windswept final round of wildly fluctuating fortunes.

Both parred the 18th on their first play-off visit, though Leishman was fortunate to get away with an errant drive and benefit from two free drops: first from behind a wall and then from a service road.

But the burly Australian’s luck ran out second time round as his three wood approach carved off on the swirling winds into the water surrounding the island green.

American Thomas then ripped his three wood unerringly to the front fringe of the putting surface and ran a putt to two feet from the flag.

It proved enough as Leishman took a bogey six and Thomas tapped in for the birdie to seal the $1.665 million winner’s cheque.

The supremely consistent 23-year-old American will advance to world number three with the win.

It was his sixth victory of a breakout year since winning the CIMB Classic in Malaysia for the second time exactly 12 months ago.

 

Leading scores

(Par 72, USA unless stated)

279 — *Justin Thomas 63-74-70-72, Marc Leishman 66-72-71-70 (AUS)

(*Thomas won on second sudden-death playoff hole)

280 — Cameron Smith (AUS) 69-68-73-70

282 — Whee Kim (KOR) 68-70-72-72

284 — Pat Perez 69-71-75-68, Jamie Lovemark 70-74-68-71, Brian Harman 68-72-72-71, Luke List 68-67-76-72, Scott Brown 66-70-71-76, Anirban Lahiri (IND) 69-71-69-74, Patrick Reed 66-72-76-71, Jason Day (AUS) 68-74-71-71, Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP) 71-70-72-71, An Byeong-Hun (KOR) 71-73-67-73

285 — Ian Poulter (ENG) 71-71-73-70, Branden Grace (RSA) 72-67-74-72, Chez Reavie 66-72-74-73, Lucas Glover 69-67-74-75.

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