Justin Thomas fended off Lee Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau to win his first Players Championship by one shot Sunday.
Thomas began the day trailing the 54-hole leader Westwood by three and failed to get anything going early. He was 1-over through eight holes despite giving himself plenty of birdie opportunities.
However, as the final pairing of Westwood and DeChambeau struggled to create separation, Thomas went on a run. A birdie on No. 9 kickstarted a four-hole stretch that the 27-year-old played in 5-under par. It was an eagle on No. 11 that gave Thomas the outright lead, which he didn’t relinquish the rest of the way.
He made a nervy par putt on the island green at 17 and then flirted with danger with his last drive of the week, but he made par on 18 to seal his 4-under 68 in the final round and secure his 14th PGA Tour title.
Thomas earned $2.7 million for his efforts at TPC Sawgrass, the largest winner’s check on the PGA Tour.
Westwood, who got off to a disastrous start by playing his first eight holes at 2-over, had a chance to force a playoff but made par on the par-5 16th and three-putted No. 17. He managed to birdie his last hole to shoot even par and finish alone in second.
DeChambeau wasn’t much better than his playing partner. He carded an ugly double-bogey on No. 4 and faced an uphill battle from then on. The long hitter eagled No. 16 to give himself an outside chance but ultimately ended up two shots short.
The PGA Tour heads to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida next week for the Honda Classic.