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Result: Justin Thomas claims victory at Players Championship

Result: Justin Thomas claims victory at Players Championship
© Reuters
Justin Thomas becomes just the fourth player to win the Players Championship, a major championship, a World Golf Championships event and the FedEx Cup.

Justin Thomas produced a brilliant burst of scoring amid a near-flawless weekend of golf to win the prestigious Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Thomas was seven shots off the lead after 36 holes and still three behind Lee Westwood heading into the final round, but followed a 64 on Saturday with a 68 on Sunday to claim a 14th PGA Tour title and the £1.9million first prize.

At 14 under par, Thomas won by a single shot from Westwood, who birdied the 18th to edge ahead of playing partner Bryson DeChambeau and Brian Harman, with Paul Casey and Talor Gooch another shot back.

The victory makes Thomas just the fourth player to win the Players Championship, a major championship, a World Golf Championships event and the FedEx Cup after Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy, who missed the cut in the defence of his title.

"It's a lot harder than when there weren't fans here, that's for sure," Thomas, who fought back tears when asked about the recent death of his grandfather, told the Golf Channel.

"I'm so happy they're back and I'm so happy to be a Players champion. I fought so hard today, I stayed really patient, probably one of the best rounds of my life tee to green, (I had) total control of the ball.

"I was hitting a lot of good putts, just wasn't holing anything and I stayed patient. I've seen some pretty crazy stuff happen on this back nine on TV in the past so I was glad to be on the better side of it this year."

The former US PGA champion, who was dropped by sponsor Ralph Lauren after using a homophobic slur mid-round in Hawaii in January, was one over par for his round after following seven straight pars with a three-putt bogey on the eighth.

But the 27-year-old then birdied the ninth and 10th, made an eagle from 20 feet on the 11th and birdied the 12th after smashing his tee shot over the green on the driveable par four.

Thomas gave the chasing pack hope with a three-putt bogey on the 14th, the world number three missing from inside three feet for par.

And Westwood took full advantage of seeing his pulled tee shot on the same hole catch a fairway bunker and stay out of the water, a brilliant approach to eight feet setting up a birdie and giving him a share of the lead.

A two-putt birdie on the par-five 16th edged Thomas back in front and Westwood had to scramble for par on the same hole after his second shot hit a tree and dropped down into a fairway bunker.

DeChambeau had not given up the chase and an eagle on the 16th took him to within two of the lead as Thomas held his nerve to hole from five feet for par on the treacherous 17th.

Thomas's heart would have been in his mouth as his tee shot on the 18th turned towards the water, but a favourable bounce ensured the ball stayed on dry land and with Westwood three-putting the 17th, victory was effectively assured.

Westwood, who also led after 54 holes of the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week before finishing second to DeChambeau, had the consolation of gaining more valuable points in the race to qualify for a record-equalling 11th Ryder Cup appearance.

But the 47-year-old will be disappointed with his closing 72, especially after moving three shots clear with a birdie on the first.

Westwood promptly bogeyed the second and although another shot went on the fourth after he sliced his tee shot into the water, he remarkably gained a shot on DeChambeau, who topped his tee shot into a different hazard and hit a dreaded shank with his third.

"The week has been great," Westwood said. "I didn't play my best golf today by any stretch of the imagination, but I battled it out. I was proud of myself for that.

Lee Westwood was happy with his performance this week despite a struggling final round
Lee Westwood was happy with his performance this week despite a struggling final round (Gerald Herbert/AP)

"People question whether I can hole putts under pressure and I rolled in a lot of must-make putts all day, really, whether it be for par or the great birdie on 14.

"Everybody keeps telling my how old I am. I'm 48 in a month's time and I'm still out here contending for tournaments and playing in final groups with great players like Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas and people like that.

"It's just a joy to be involved and still playing well and being able to contend."

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Rory McIlroy pictured during the Masters on November 13, 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina32211669
United StatesUnited States24282173
JapanJapan1961136
AustraliaAustralia1441634
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee13211852
Great BritainGreat Britain13171343
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


SKATEBOARDING
· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

SAILING
· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

CYCLING
· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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