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'Not Many Guys Win a PGA Shanking a Shot:' Justin Thomas Overcomes Rare Gaffe at PGA

Justin Thomas caught a few lucky breaks in his final round, including a bogey after shanking a shot on the 6th hole.
Justin Thomas and caddy Bones Mackay in the final round.

Justin Thomas and caddy Bones Mackay in the final round.

TULSA, Okla. — "Holy s---!"

Mike Thomas’s first reaction was nothing if not genuine when he reached his wife, Jani, who was perched on the hill behind the 18th green as their son Justin found the putting surface on the 75th and last hole of the 2022 PGA Championship.

Mike Thomas didn’t make the utterance in exasperation or surprise, but more pride that their son overcame the odds. Justin Thomas started the day seven shots back of Mito Pereira and didn’t miss a shot in a 3-hole playoff where he went 2 under par to win his second PGA Championship by a shot over Will Zalatoris.

Major victories come in many different flavors, but most all winners can point to at least one lucky bounce or break that made the difference.

While many will point to the five birdies Thomas made in the last 10 holes of regulation, or the birdie-birdie start in the playoff, the turning point of the round came when Thomas bogeyed the par-3 6th hole.

Playing 218 yards, it was tied for the third-hardest hole in the final round and fifth-hardest for the championship.

When Thomas stepped on the tee, he had just come off a birdie on the par-5 5th hole and was even for the round, still seven shots behind Pereira.

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The tee shot went right immediately and luckily didn’t go in the penalty area. Left with 118 yards to the green, Thomas didn’t hit his best shot, getting under the ball, and it hit a tree.

Again, Thomas got a great break and the ball, which could have gone anywhere, found a bunker. Then he hit what caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay called one of the best shots of the day, a cutting pitching wedge out of the bunker from 100 yards to 20 feet. Thomas made the putt for bogey.

“I shanked it, I cold shanked it,” Thomas said of his 5-iron on the 6th hole. “It was the best bogey I've ever made in my life, that's for sure.”

After salvaging a bogey in what could only be characterized as something like a pinball game, Thomas piped his drive on the difficult 7th hole and then he and Mackay figured out the yardage.

“We get the yardage, you're like, we got to hit the 5-iron again,” Mackay said. “So very next hole, water right of the green, green sloping left to right, he now has got to step up, hit a shot with this club he shanked 20 minutes ago.”

What Mackay called arguably his best shot of the day and his best full swing of the week, Thomas hit his approach to 10 feet from 197 yards.

The birdie putt just missed, but from then on Thomas would make seven birdies over the remaining 11 holes in regulation and three holes in the playoff.

“He’s got shots,” Mackay said. “You can’t fake it around here, the winds blowing, major championship nerves, the guys got shots and he showed you guys today, especially at the end.”

As Thomas put his tees and ball back in his bag and retrieved his watch, Thomas looked up at Mackay and said with a smile, “not many guys win a PGA Championship shanking a shot.”

More PGA Championship Coverage on Morning Read

- Justin Thomas Banks $2.7 Million From Record-Breaking Purse
- Thomas Outlasts Zalatoris in Playoff to Win PGA
- What's Next for Tiger Woods After WD at PGA?