An attritional first three days of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills had weeded out most of the star names, except one that would not go away. From the fourth last twosome of a group, the majority of which had never won on Tour, would emerge Justin Thomas to first match Will Zalatoris on five under and then defeat him in a three hole aggregate playoff.
Starting the day Mito Pereira led and though you sensed he would be like a Star Trek red shirt that would quickly come a cropper, the Chilean hung on gamely until a wobbly wallop on the final tee finally sealed his fate.
In the playoff Justin Thomas ramped up the quality but Zalatoris did not capitulate easily; maybe why he now has five Major top-10's in just two years. But with Thomas birdieing the opening two holes, the first after laying up on a par 5 showing coolness under pressure and a killer instinct, he had a firm grasp on the Wannamaker Trophy.
Best of the home players were Matt Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood who tied for fifth in contrasting ways. Fleetwood back to his best in testing conditions, Fitzpatrick struggling on the back nine with that look of a child who's toy has fallen down behind the sofa.
Justin Thomas hit 34 fairways with his Titleist TSi3 driver, T45 in the accuracy stats and averaged 327.4 yards. Key to victory for the 29-year-old were his Titleist 621.JT irons which found 50 greens, second in the field. Around the green the Alabama graduate used his Vokey Design SM9 wedges to good effect Sunday with a Strokes Gained Around clip of 2.465. And when he needed it most his Scotty Cameron X5 Tour Prototype putter was clutch circling 16 birdies versus 11 bogeys in regulation and two more key birdies in the playoff to seal his second major title in 26 appearances.