Justin Thomas doesn't break sweat in winning finale at Firestone
06 August, 2018, 14:40 | Author: Amy Huff
Nervous at the start, Justin Thomas was in full control at the Bridgestone Invitational to the end. He added four more birdies on his inward run.
And then he almost lost it.
His grandfather, Paul, played in the 1960 Championship at Firestone. His grandmother is one of his biggest supporters who navigated her way around the hills of Firestone using a walker in 90-degree heat.
BLAINE, Minn. - Kenny Perry won the 3M Championship one last time, closing with a 3-under 69 for a three-stroke victory in the PGA Tour Champions event that is being replaced by the PGA Tour's 3M Open.
There he will try to defend the PGA Championship he won a year ago at Quail Hollow. I never have gotten like that on the golf course before.
Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Thomas plundered Firestone Country Club to join Ian Poulter in the second-round lead at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio on Friday as Tiger Woods lurked five shots behind.
Jason Day, who threw away a chance to win the Bridgestone Invitational two years ago, had a 69 and was four shots behind.
McIlroy finished the back nine with consecutive bogeys and never recovered.
With the course firming up throughout the afternoon, the scoring average soared on day three but halfway co-leader Thomas seemed unfazed, mixing six birdies with three bogeys on Saturday to get to 14 under par.
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Day played alongside eight-time Bridgestone victor Tiger Woods, who had four birdies and two bogeys in a two-under 68 that left him tied for 10th, five shots behind the leaders and still in the mix heading into the weekend.
"Things could have certainly gone better", Woods said. "But it is what it is, and on to next week". Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed have already clinched three of the eight automatic bids. He went from 161st to 126th in the FedEx Cup race, with the top 125 after the Wyndham Championship in two weeks keeping their cards and earning playoff spots. He lost in the semifinals of the Match Play.
The Bridgestone Invitational field includes the top 50 players from the Official World Golf Ranking, along with members of the Presidents Cup teams and the winners of selected tournaments on the PGA Tour and other worldwide tours. "Just didn't quite hit the putts hard enough today, but when I did, I made them". "To win on a golf course like this, a championship golf course and always against a very tough field, it just felt great".
Earlier in the week Thomas noted that Woods' eight victories here matched his career total.
The tournament's final edition at Firestone offered little drama as no one got within two of Thomas. Thomas had not finished better than a tie for 28th in his two previous appearances at Firestone. The last place finisher wins $46,450, which is higher than a top 30 finish at some tournaments on the PGA Tour.
Rory McIlroy, playing in the final group with Thomas, said he was exhausted of finishing second this year.
Firestone has held tour events since the Rubber City Open in 1954. In many respects, it was the precursor to the World Golf Championships by bringing in winners from around the world. The prize pool was increased slightly this year and the purse now ranks sixth among PGA Tour events in 2018, behind only the four majors and The Players Championship. The World Golf Championship instead will move to Memphis, Tennessee.
Former world No.1 Day pulled within two shots of Thomas when he rattled off three straight birdies starting at the 10th hole, but a series of errant tee shots and poor recoveries resulted in back-to-back bogeys from the 13th. Stanley closed with a 68. Fresh off last week's win at the Canadian Open, Johnson enters Bellerive as the clear betting favorite.
Pornanong, also seeking her first major and LPGA title, double-bogeyed No. 17 to leave Hall with a three-shot lead down the last.
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