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Thomas lands Honda Classic as Tiger finishes 12th
Justin Thomas produced another nerveless display to edge out Luke List while Tiger Woods produced his best performance yet in his latest comeback.
So what happened at the Honda Classic?
Justin Thomas recorded his first win of 2018 after making a birdie four at the first extra hole against the big-hitting Luke List.
Thomas now has eight wins on the PGA Tour and this one came about courtesy of a final-round 68, to follow up on a 65 on Saturday.
The play-off came about after List drilled a huge drive and a 4-iron to 25 feet while Thomas, needing a birdie, then nearly holed out from 117 yards.
At the extra hole List, looking for his first win, had to punch one out sideways while Thomas hit a rock-solid fairway wood from the first cut to the back of the green. List pitched on but never threatened with the putt and Thomas two-putted from distance.
Earlier in the day Thomas enjoyed a huge slice of luck at the 5th (see below) which could easily have been a double bogey.
Alex Noren, who lost the play-off at Torrey Pines, was the unlucky recipient of Thomas and List’s 72nd-hole heroics as his closing 67 and seven-under aggregate was one shot short. The Swede looked to have slipped out of it with bogeys at 11 and 13 but birdies at 14 and 16, where he holed a monster putt (see below) to shake up the leaderboard.
His approach to the par-5 18th was unlucky not to find the greenside sand and, while he played a brilliant recovery, he was unable to hole the resulting 12-footer.
Tommy Fleetwood was in a share of the lead midway through the back nine but he missed consecutive par putts at 14 and 15 before taking fourth spot with a birdie at the last for a 69.
Oh ye of little faith...
After hitting just 16 greens in two rounds at Riviera Tiger looked like a different animal here. On Saturday, just seven off the lead at one of the hardest tracks they play all year, he said ‘I’ve got a shot’ and it wasn’t just Tiger talk, he did, sitting among the top 11.
He was on more fairways and on more greens and he posted his first round in the 60s, a 69 on Saturday, in his latest comeback. In the end he finished on level par and in 12th place after a late visit to the water late on Sunday but that mattered not.
“That was the highest score I could have possibly shot,” he said on Saturday night. “I really hit it good. I’m making some tweaks in my swing but also trying to understand what this body can do. It’s not like it used to be – those angles are gone. I’ve had to make adjustments here and there and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of gradually building it together.”
His playing partner was Jason Dufner, who plays a lot of golf with Tiger, and he had this upbeat assessment of his playing partner.
“Today (Saturday) was closer to what I saw during casual rounds which is a good indication that he’s on his way to playing some good golf. He’s a smart guy. He’s always kind of been a strategist and a tactician out there. If he gets just a little bit better with his control and what he’s doing, he’ll be right there.”
And if you were wondering how that bad back is getting on then have a look at Best Stats (below)...
While after his previous three starts we have all been looking for the good bits, this was so much more promising and solid. Fair play to him...
Tiger Woods ranks 1st this week in ...— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 25, 2018
Driving distance: 320.7 yards 💪
Proximity to the hole: 28' 10" 🎯 pic.twitter.com/4rH08uHbcT