Justin Thomas won the CJ Cup for the second time in three years for his 11th PGA Tour title
Justin Thomas claimed his 11th PGA Tour title at Nine Bridges on Sunday with a five-under 67, overcoming a final round battle with Danny Lee in Korea to win on 20-under-par.
Both Thomas and Lee held a share of the lead heading in to the final round and remained locked at the top in to the back nine, but the 26-year-old’s birdie at the 14th to move ahead proved a crucial turning point as Lee’s subsequent dropped shots over the next few holes meant a final-hole birdie secured a two-stroke victory.
“Other than that bogey on 17, I really feel like I did everything I needed to do to win the tournament today,” Thomas said after his win. “It’s very reassuring knowing that I could hit those shots when I needed to the entire day when I felt like the heat was on the whole day.
“It was a very, very tough day. Danny made it extremely difficult. He really made a lot of putts, a lot of unbelievable up and downs to kind of keep me from getting all the momentum.”
Thomas was the first of the two players to make their move on Sunday with two birdies in his opening three holes, but it was a lead that was shortlived as Lee answered his first dropped shot of the day at the fourth hole with a birdie to regain a share of the lead.
Lee briefly gained the lead on his own following a lengthy birdie putt at the seventh hole, but Thomas replied with a gain at the eighth and the pair traded further birdies at the ninth to remain tied heading in to the back nine.
Both players were unable to be separated after they both holed putts for birdie at the par-five 12th, but Thomas moved in to the lead for good just two holes later with his sixth birdie of the day.
That gap extended to three shots quickly as Lee’s composure slipped and he recorded back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th, and an untimely lip out for par at the 17th still gave Thomas a two stroke advantage with one hole to go.
At the 18th, a final hole birdie Thomas ensured his second CJ Cup victory in just the third staging of the tournament.
Hideki Matsuyama, Gary Woodland and Cameron Smith finished in a tie for third five shots behind, with Tyrrell Hatton and Byeong Hun An two shot further back in sixth on 13-under.
Jordan Spieth, who was playing in his first event since the BMW Championship, recorded his first top 10 of the season in a tie for eighth with Ryan Moore, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Wyndham Clark.