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Bounce-back win at Firestone sets Thomas up for PGA defence
Justin Thomas's preparation for his first major title defence at this week’s PGA Championships couldn't have been much better. We wrap-up the action from the WCG-Bridgestone Invitational.
When world No. 1 Dustin Johnson missed the cut at The Open, he won on his very next start at the RBC Canadian Open. Justin Thomas also failed to make the weekend at Carnoustie, and on Sunday at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational – his first start since the year’s third major – ran away with the trophy in similar dominant fashion.
At the start of the day, Thomas held a three-shot advantage over Rory McIlroy, and as the Northern Irishman went into reverse, Thomas cruised to victory. His only two birdies of the day came at the par-5 second, the easiest hole on the golf course, and the par-4 13th, where a mammoth 374-yard drive left just a flick with a wedge. A bogey at the sixth would have almost no bearing on a comfortable four-stroke win at Firestone.
Elsewhere, Kyle Stanley’s round of 68 allowed the American to get within four shots of Thomas to finish second, while Dustin Johnson shot a 64 to charge up the leaderboard into a share of third place with Thorbjorn Olesen. Brooks Koepka rounded off the top-5, while McIlroy’s three-over 73 will give cause for concern heading into the final major of the year next week.
The Ryder Cup is just a month away, and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen has given Europe’s captain Thoms Bjorn a major selection headache. After this week, the Dane edges closer to automatic qualification, but the chances are he won’t be able to qualify on merit.
Bjorn will want his compatriot on the side for Paris, but with the likes of Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, and perhaps even Ian Poulter set to miss out on automatic qualification, will Bjorn pick Olesen in favour of an experienced head?
Elsewhere, Tiger Woods had a rollercoaster round on his way to a three-over 73, but he signed off from his Firestone hunting ground with a vintage Tiger birdie.