Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Golf

Justin Thomas beats Marc Leishman in playoff to win inaugural CJ Cup

JEJU, South Korea — Justin Thomas beat Marc Leishman on the second playoff hole Sunday to win the inaugural CJ Cup in South Korea and cap his breakout year.

Thomas sealed his fifth PGA Tour title in 2017, and first of the 2017-18 season, when he birdied the second extra hole and Leishman made bogey after finding the water.

The pair went to a sudden-death playoff after completing the U.S. tour’s first regular-season event in South Korea tied at 9-under 279.

Thomas, who shared the overnight lead with Scott Brown, fell behind when he had double bogey on the 550-yard par-5 No. 3 hole.

"I just kept telling myself it was a bad golf swing," Thomas said. "It wasn’t a mental error or wasn’t a wrong judgment that we made but just a bad golf swing at a pretty bad time, but I knew you are going make bogeys out here" Sunday.

Thomas regained the lead and looked set for the win in regulation until he bogeyed No. 17, a 195-yard par 3 hole. But he made amends with birdie at the last to finish the round at par 72 and join Leishman in the playoff.

"I really played some great golf after the third hole, but it’s just such a long day with these conditions," Thomas said.

Thomas said he is looking forward to some time off after his breakout season.

"I’m so excited to not do anything," he said. "I officially have nothing left in the tank at this moment."

Leishman, who ended a five-year drought on tour when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in March, then added the BMW Championship in September, looked to have slipped out of contention when he bogeyed Nos. 5, 7 and 8 to tumble down the leaderboard. But he birdied Nos. 9, 12 and 14 to join Thomas at 9 under. He finished bogey-birdie to get in the playoff with 70.

LPGA: Eun-Hee Ji fired 7-under 65 to win the Taiwan Championship in Taipei for her first tour title since the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open. Ji, who had a six-stroke lead heading into the round, had seven birdies to finish 17-under 271, six strokes ahead of Lydia Ko, who also closed with 65.

CHAMPIONS: Bernhard Langer made a 15-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th hole to overcome a mediocre round and win the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Richmond, Va., the first event in the Charles Schwab Cup playoffs. Langer, the overnight leader, followed his second-round 63 with 2-under 70 to finish at 16-under 200 and beat Scott Verplank by one shot. Verplank shot bogey-free 66.

PGA EUROPE: Tournament host Sergio Garcia won the Valderrama Masters in Sotogrande, Spain, after shooting 4-under 67 in the final round. Garcia, who went into the day with a one-stroke lead, made five birdies and one bogey to finish at 12-under 272, one stroke ahead of Joost Luiten (66).

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