PGA Championship: Thomas seals monster comeback to beat Zalatoris in play-off
Tulsa, Oklahoma - Justin Thomas overturned a record-equalling seven-shot deficit before beating Will Zalatoris in a play-off to win his second PGA Championship following a dramatic climax at Southern Hills.
Chile's Mito Pereira held a one-shot lead on the 72nd hole after seeing his birdie putt on the 17th stop agonizingly short of the hole, but pushed his drive into the creek and ran up a devastating double bogey.
That left Thomas and Zalatoris to contest a three-hole aggregate play-off. Thomas birdied the 13th and 17th, then parred the 18th to lift the Wanamaker Trophy for the second time, having started the day seven shots off the lead.
That meant the former world number one equalled the biggest comeback in US PGA history.
Thomas had holed from six feet on the par-five 13th to match the birdie Zalatoris had made after finding the green in two, but Zalatoris missed from eight feet for birdie on the 17th after Thomas had driven the green on the 302-yard par four to set up a two-putt birdie.
Zalatoris then could not hole his lengthy birdie putt on the 18th and Thomas safely two-putted for par to get his hands on the Wanamaker Trophy for the second time following his 2017 win at Quail Hollow.
McIlroy undone by par threes
Rory McIlroy's second successive Sunday charge in a major had earlier ended in disappointment as his wait for a fifth major title, and first since the 2014 US PGA, goes on.
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.
The reaction was understandable given that McIlroy had enjoyed a one-shot lead following an opening 65 from what proved the favorable 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 thanks to four birdies in a row from the second.
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.
Cover photo: USA TODAY Sports