Justin Thomas of the United States reacts to his birdie putt on the 17th green, the second playoff hole during the final round of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club on May 22, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Andrew Redington/ TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Justin Thomas is a major champion when he least expected it.Thomas matched a PGA Championship record Sunday when he rallied from a seven-shot deficit at Southern Hills, and then saved his most exquisite shot-making for a three-hole playoff to defeat Will Zalatoris.He closed with a 3-under 67, matching the low score of a final round made difficult more by nerves than the wind.
He seized control in the playoff with a 3-wood to 35 feet on the 301-yard 17th hole for a two-putt birdie.He tapped in for par and stood erect with a smile, a mixture of joy and disbelief."I was asked early in the week what lead is safe and I said, ‘No lead,'" Thomas said. "I can't believe I found myself in a playoff."Thomas needed plenty of help, and Mito Pereira provided it in a tragic finish.
The 27-year-old from Chile, playing in only his second major, took a one-shot lead to the final hole and drove into a creek to make double bogey.It was the first time since Phil Mickelson at Winged Foot in the 2006 U.S.