Golf: PGA Champion Thomas back to work after Southern Hills triumph

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 26 2022 09:12 AM

Justin Thomas of the USA holds up his ball to acknowledge the crowd after a birdie putt on the first playoff hole against Will Zalatoris of the USA during the playoff round of the 2022 PGA Championship golf tournament at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, 22 May 2022. Erik S. Lesser, EPA-EFE
Justin Thomas of the USA holds up his ball to acknowledge the crowd after a birdie putt on the first playoff hole against Will Zalatoris of the USA during the playoff round of the 2022 PGA Championship golf tournament at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, 22 May 2022. Erik S. Lesser, EPA-EFE

LOS ANGELES -- Justin Thomas is getting right back to work after his "unfathomable" victory at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills on Sunday.

The Texan tees it up on Thursday at Colonial Country Club on Thursday, still trying to fully comprehend how his second major title came about.

"I haven't had a chance to watch the full coverage on Sunday, which I'd like to, but I did happen to see -- when I was putting on nine, I was eight back," Thomas said Wednesday.

"I was eight back with 10 holes to go. That's unfathomable. If I was looking at leaderboards, I probably would not have thought I even had a chance to win.

"It's a huge learning lesson for me. You've got to play golf. Those majors and in golf tournaments, anything can happen. I just kind of kept plugging along, and somehow it happened."

Thomas's comeback matched the greatest last-day comeback in PGA Championship history. He beat Will Zalatoris in a playoff after Chilean Mito Pereira's heartbreaking 72nd hole collapse.

Thomas, who reached number one in the world in 2018, moved to fifth in the world on the strength of the victory, acknowledged it was something of a relief to at last add a second major to the PGA Championship he won in 2017.

"Definitely glad that I could finally answer the question of when am I going to get my second versus just being a one-hit wonder," Thomas said.

But he hasn't taken much time to savor the accomplishment.

"I have a golf tournament this week, and I'm just trying to perform and play as well as I possibly can," Thomas said. "Hopefully give us something else to celebrate."

He said much of his two days off had been spent trying to catch up on rest after an exhausting week in Oklahoma.

His 15th PGA Tour victory was his first in more than a year.

"I feel like I've been playing some of the best golf of my career the last year and have literally had nothing to show for it, had no wins, and it just was like, man, it's hard to win out here," Thomas said.

Thomas, who is joined in the field by Zalatoris and Pereira, said the classic course at Colonial offers a similar challenge to Southern Hills.

"This course is right in front of you, very similar to last week in terms of off the tee you know what you're getting and you can play it hitting a lot of different clubs off tees," he said, adding that he relished the mental challenge.

"A lot of places nowadays is just kind of bomb it, send it as far as you can and just get it somewhere around the green, and the greens are so big that you can usually get up-and-down," Thomas said. "A place like here, (the greens) are so small, have some very subtle undulation -- you just have to be smart around here."

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