Thomas cruises to Bridgestone title in prelude to PGA defence

Jo Caldwell
August 6, 2018

After a bogey from the trees at No. 3, Thomas went at a back pin on the tough fourth hole and the ball bounded over the green in thick rough.

His finish began with a tee shot on the 17th hole that landed closer to the 16th fairway.

Despite having such a big lead, Thomas admits he still had nerves coming into the round.

The impromptu meeting was much more than simply a pep talk, the reigning PGA Tour player of the year doesn't need that.

"I was just trying to be as aggressive as possible and fire at everything", Woods said. "I know it's one of Tiger's favorite courses, so I wanted to come up and see it", said Ralph Lee of Canton. I told (caddie Jimmie Johnson) that on the chipping green. "I think it's going to be great prep for next week as well, so I'll obviously be fully engaged to try to win this tournament but knowing that if I play well tomorrow, it puts me in the right frame of mind going into next week as well (for USPGA Championship)". "You kind of get that two-, three-, four-shot lead, it's different than one". Thomas had a couple of early setbacks but was commanding thereafter, plotting his way round the treacherous terrain so efficiently that he shot a 67 and finished with a three-stroke lead at 14 under par.

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The win is the third for Thomas in the 2018 season, but his first since the Honda Classic in February. After winning last year's Tour Championship he revealed a list that ranged from the predictable (win on Tour) to the amazingly detailed (finish the season ranked in the top 30 in scrambling).

Thomas, 25, is the third three-times victor on tour this year, after Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson.

Thomas says he tried to avoid letting their presence get to him, but it did.

"It was pretty special".

Thomas' ninth title on the PGA Tour will bank him a cool $US1.7 million cheque and will move him up one spot on the world rankings. I was so far back that I had to play a great round just to get in the top 10.

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Johnson, the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, earned $510,000 for his efforts on a sunny day with temperatures in the 90s in Akron.

The Thomas family already has a history at Firestone Country Club. He putted uncharacteristically poorly and was never a factor after four bogeys in the first seven holes. Olesen matched Johnson's 64 as they both tied for third.

"I'm glad I finally played well around here", said Thomas, who claimed his first victory in an elite World Golf Championships event on a course where hasn't fared so well in the past.

For Thomas, the win serves as valuable momentum as he heads to Bellerive Country Club next week.

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