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Justin Thomas clinches US PGA in playoff, McIlroy and Power finish in top 10

Thomas overcame Will Zalatoris in a play-off after leader Mito Pereira’s double-bogey on the 18th.

JUSTIN THOMAS LANDED his second Major title and his second PGA championship win after seeing off Will Zalatoris in a play-off at Southern Hills in Oklahoma.

pga-championship-golf Justin Thomas. Source: Eric Gay

Thomas, the 2017 PGA Championship winner, and Zalatoris, chasing his first major crown, finished 72 holes at Southern Hills deadlocked on five-under-par 275.

The three-hole aggregate play-off involved the pair playing the 13th, 17th and 18th holes. Both birdied the par-five 13th, before Thomas made a crucial breakthrough with a birdie on the 17th, which Zalatoris parred. A par at the last for Thomas sealed his victory after a day where he began seven shots back but fired a 67 to propel himself into contention.

Chile’s Mito Pereira had taken a three-shot into the final round but was just one ahead of Zalatoris and Cameron Young with four holes to play, with former world number one Thomas and England’s Matt Fitzpatrick just two off the lead.

Pereira, who clung to at least a share of the lead throughout a dramatic final round, closed with a double bogey to fall from the lead and share third on 276 with American Cameron Young.

Rory McIlroy’s second successive Sunday charge in a major ended in disappointment as he finished 8th on his own after a final round of 68.

pga-championship-golf A disappointed Rory McIlroy. Source: Matt York

Waterford’s Seamus Power capped a strong week in only his second ever Major appearance as he also enjoyed a top 10 finish, tied for 9th after his final round of 72 to end up on one-under. Shane Lowry finished in a tie for 23rd after his final round of 69 that brought him to two-over for the tournament.

pga-championship-golf Will Zalatoris lost out in the play-off. Source: Matt York

Power had began the day in a tie for 6th on three-under but was unable to rise further up the leaderboard, suffering an early setback with a double bogey on the par-four 2nd as he found water with his drive.

From there Power’s round was remarkably consistent and he finished with 15 pars, one birdie, one bogey and one double bogey. After last month’s maiden Major appearance at the Masters where he made the cut, a top 10 finish is another boost to Power and a step forward in his career.

pga-championship-golf Seamus Power. Source: Sue Ogrocki

McIlroy finished runner-up in the Masters thanks to a closing 64 at Augusta National, a round which culminated in wild celebrations from the four-time major winner after he holed a bunker shot on the 72nd hole.

In stark contrast, McIlroy’s closing 68 in Tulsa was followed by him declining to speak to waiting reporters before quickly collecting his belongings from the locker room and heading to his car.

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The reaction was understandable given that McIlroy had enjoyed a one-shot lead following an opening 65 from what proved the favourable side of the draw.

A second round of 71 was far from disastrous, but Saturday’s 74 left him nine shots off the pace heading into the final round, a deficit he swiftly reduced today thanks to four birdies in a row from the second.

pga-championship-golf McIlroy reacts after a missed putt on the sixth. Source: Matt York

The par threes have been McIlroy’s undoing however – the 33-year-old playing them in five over par in round three even with a birdie on the 14th – and the sixth cost him another shot on Sunday after missing the green and hitting a poor chip to 20 feet.

Good birdie chances went begging on the ninth, 12th and 13th and McIlroy’s faint hopes were ended with a bogey on the short par-four 17th.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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