Justin Thomas Wins 2017 SBS Tournament of ChampionsJanuary 9, 2017, 4:46 AM HST (Updated January 9, 2017, 5:03 PM) · 0 Comments
Twenty-three year old Justin Thomas of Kentucky won this weekend’s 2017 SBS Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Maui.
After winning the CIMB Classic for the second straight year, Thomas went on to play three-consecutive 6-under 67s on Maui with a final-round 4-under 69, good for a three-stroke victory over Hideki Matsuyama.
With the victory, Thomas collects 500 points and remains No. 2 in the FedExCup standings, just 36 points behind Matsuyama.
Thomas becomes the first multiple winner of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR season.
Thomas earns his third PGA TOUR victory in his 73rd start at the age of 23 years, 8 months and 10 days. By comparison, the youngest winner of the SBS Tournament of Champions is Tiger Woods, winning in 1997 at the age of 21 years and 13 days. Jordan Spieth won in 2016 at the age of 22 years, 5 months and 14 days.
PGA TOUR victories (3): 2015 CIMB Classic, 2016 CIMB Classic, 2017 SBS Tournament of Champions.
Thomas’ win is the fifth by a player in his 20s this season (Thomas/2, Hideki Matsuyama, Cody Gribble, Mackenzie Hughes), compared to one winner in his 30s (Brendan Steele) and two in their 40s (Rod Pampling, Pat Perez).
The Alabama product’s 2015-16 season concluded with his first appearance in the season-ending TOUR Championship thanks to three third-place finishes to go along with his maiden victory. Thomas played the second and third rounds with Ryan Moore, who won the CIMB Classic in 2013 and 2014, before Thomas’ back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2016.
This week marked the third time Thomas has held at least a share of the lead through 54 holes, going on to win at the 2015 CIMB Classic and 2017 SBS Tournament of Champions. He finished T7 at the 2015 CareerBuilder Challenge after holding a share of the third-round lead. In his 2016 win at the CIMB Classic, Thomas was T2 heading into the final round.
International players won the SBS Tournament of Champions each year from 2002-2010, but Thomas’ win this week marks the seventh-consecutive American-born player to win in Kapalua.
Justin Thomas – Statistics:
Driving Accuracy 44/60 (T17)
Greens in Regulation 63/72 (2)
Total Putts 118
Driving Distance 301.7 (7)
Strokes Gained/Off the Tee: +4.896 (3)
SG/Approach the Green: +2.392 (7)
SG/Putting: +3.236 (4)
About Justin Thomas
Birthdate: April 29, 1993
Birthplace: Louisville, KY
Residence: Goshen, KY
Education: University of Alabama
Turned Pro: 2013
Joined PGA TOUR: 2014-15
Web.com Tour Graduate: 2014
Justin Thomas 67-67-67-69—270 (-22)
Hideki Matsuyama 69-68-66-70—273 (-19)
Jordan Spieth 72-69-70-65—276 (-16)
Pat Perez 69-71-69-67—276 (-16)
Ryan Moore 67-67-71-71—276 (-16)
Four out of the last six leaders or co-leaders through 54 holes at Kapalua have gone on to win (Steve Stricker-2012, Dustin Johnson-2013 in a 54-hole event, Jordan Spieth-2016, Justin Thomas-2017).
Through eight events in the 2016-17 PGA TOUR season, only three of eight third-round leaders have gone on to victory (Hideki Matsuyama-WGC-HSBC Champions, Mackenzie Hughes-The RSM Classic, Justin Thomas-SBS Tournament of Champions).
FedExCup leader Hideki Matsuyama recorded a final-round 3-under 70 to finish solo second, three strokes behind Justin Thomas.
The three-time PGA TOUR winner has now finished runner-up three times, with two of those coming to Justin Thomas (2016 CIMB Classic, 2017 SBS Tournament of Champions). He also finished second at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Matsuyama’s 70 snaps a streak of 13 consecutive rounds in the in the 60s on the PGA TOUR dating back to his second-round 71 at the TOUR Championship. In his last 12 rounds, Matsuyama is a combined 62 under par.
Matsuyama’s last six worldwide starts (non-team events):
Won – Japan Open (Japan Golf Tour)
2nd – CIMB Classic (PGA TOUR; runner up to Justin Thomas)
Won – World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions (PGA TOUR)
Won – Taiheyo Masters (Japan Golf Tour)
Won – Hero World Challenge (unofficial PGA TOUR event)
2nd – SBS Tournament of Champions (PGA TOUR)
Matsuyama made his second start at the SBS Tournament of Champions (T3 in 2015).
Defending champion Jordan Spieth, who won by eight strokes in 2016, closed with an 8-under 65 to finish T3 in his attempt to become the first player to successfully defend at Kapalua since Geoff Ogilvy (2009-2010).
Spieth led the field this week with 26 birdies, one more than champion Justin Thomas.
Spieth’s finishes in three starts at Kapalua: 2nd-2014, 1st-2016, T3-2017.
Additional Player Notes
World No. 1 Jason Day, who made his season debut this week after sitting during the fall to rest his injured back, finished T12. Here’s a look at Day’s finishes at the SBS Tournament of Champions: T12-2017, T10-2016, T3-2015, T9-2011.
Making his second SBS Tournament of Champions start (T10 in 2010), Pat Perez closed with a 6-under 67 to T3 with Jordan Spieth and Ryan Moore. Perez earned his way into the field with his victory at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
Making his fifth start at the SBS Tournament of Champions (T3-2017, T20-2015, 10-2014, T28-2013, T6-2010), 2016 Ryder Cup member and five-time PGA Tour winner Ryan Moore posted a final-round 71 to finish T3. Moore finished a career-best seventh in the FedExCup last season, with a career-high nine top-10 finishes.
2015 champion Patrick Reed finished T6 and now owns three top-6 finishes in four starts at the SBS Tournament of Champions (T6-2017, 2-2016, 1-2015, T16-2014). He has yet to post an over-par round in 16 tries at The Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort. His worst effort was a final-round even-par 73 in 2014.
The toughest hole this week was the par-4 first, yielding a 4.109 average. The par-5 fifth hole was the easiest, playing to a 4.305 average.