Justin Thomas recovered from a late double-bogey and held off a last-day challenge by Japan’s in-form Hideki Matsuyama to clinch his third PGA Tour victory, by three shots at the SBS Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Sunday.
The long-hitting American had been a commanding five strokes in front with five holes to play at the Kapalua Resort on the island of Maui before his lead was stunningly cut to just one after 15 holes.
Thomas then benefited from a two-shot swing at the par-four 17th, where he sank a three-footer for birdie after Matsuyama had three-putted for bogey, and also birdied the last to close with a four-under 69 in the PGA Tour's opening event of the year.
Justin Thomas, hunting his third PGA Tour victory, seized a two-shot lead after the third round of the SBS Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Saturday but has the game’s hottest player, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, in close pursuit.
Co-leader overnight with fellow American Ryan Moore, the long-hitting Thomas eagled the par-four 14th and finished in style with a birdie at the last, where he two-putted from just short of the green, for a six-under 67 and an 18-under total of 201.
Thomas is seeking his first PGA Tour title on U.S. soil after claiming his first two wins at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia but will have to contend with Matsuyama in Sunday’s final round at the Kapalua Resort on the island of Maui.
Tiger Woods will make his first appearance on the PGA Tour in 2017 at the Farmers Insurance Open later this month.
The tournament at Torrey Pines near San Diego, which begins Jan. 26, will mark Woods' first official event in 17 months; he tied for 10th at the Wyndham Championship in August 2015. He finished 15th last month at the Hero World Challenge, an 18-player event in the Bahamas that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation but is deemed unofficial by the PGA Tour.
Woods confirmed Thursday that he would play the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, a European Tour event that he has won twice, the week after the Farmers.
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- Jason Day would love nothing more than a long year, and that might start with a shorter swing.
Day is coming off a longest break of his career, and while he arrived on Maui for the SBS Tournament of Champions as the No. 1 player in the world, he didn't bring much momentum with him. He last played on Sept. 23 at the Tour Championship, withdrawing from the second round with a back injury. Two weeks earlier, he withdrew from the final round of the BMW Championship with back pain.
"I picked up a club twice in those three months and I worked hard on my rehab, especially the back," Day said Tuesday at Kapalua. "Obviously, that's kind of been plaguing me through my career with regards to having too many withdrawals. But I'm doing everything I possibly can ... and I feel pretty good. I feel fit, and I'm looking forward to a good, solid year."
LOS ANGELES -- Jason Day kicks off 2017 at the US PGA Tour tournament of champions on Thursday ranked number one in the world, and the Filipino-Aussie is hoping his painstaking rehab of a back injury keeps him at the top.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday at Kapalua, Hawaii, where the elite tournament tees off on Thursday, Day said he was "cautiously optimistic" he could avoid a repeat of his injury-plagued 2016.
“I'm just trying to get stuck back into the process, trying to get better," said Day, who said he spent the three months since back pain forced him out of the Tour Championship in September working to recover.
No. 1-ranked women's golfer Lydia Ko is the latest player to sign an endorsement deal to play PXG golf clubs, the company announced Tuesday.
PXG (Parsons Xtreme Golf) got into the equipment business in 2014 when founder Bob Parsons sought to build high-end, high-performance clubs that also came at a premium price. PXG irons retail for approximately $5,000.
Ko, 19, who is from New Zealand, made another move Tuesday, picking Gary Matthews to be her next caddie.
World number two Rory McIlroy has the talent but he must work harder to dominate golf, 18-times major title winner Jack Nicklaus has said.
McIlroy is only behind Australian Jason Day in the world rankings and has won four majors in his career so far, the last of which came in 2014.
"Rory is one of those young men who has got a tremendous amount of talent," American Nicklaus told the BBC.