Justin Thomas wins first PGA Tour title in Kuala Lumpur
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington cards final round 70 to leave him -5 overall
Justin Thomas of the United States poses with his trophy after winning the CIMB Classic golf tournament at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. Photograph: Joshua Paul/AP
The 22-year-old from Kentucky entered the final round tied for top spot with Brendan Steele, and surged clear on his own courtesy of a six-under 66 which included birdies at the 15th, 16th and 17th holes.
Thomas, who posted a course-record 61 on Friday to take the halfway lead, finished with a four-round total of 26 under par.
Thomas — needing a par on the 18th — made things tricky for himself when he sent a 25-foot birdie putt five feet past the hole, but kept his cool to close out the triumph.
Asked how hard it had been to get over the line, he said on www.pgatour.com: “It’s a lot harder when you run 20-footers about five feet past the hole!
“It’s tough to win.
“(But) look at guys like Rickie (Fowler). He’s done pretty well for himself and it took him a while to win too.
“I understand we’re in a sport where your winning percentage isn’t in your favour. I’ve put myself there a bunch. I just need to keep doing so, and moments like this can happen.”
The success lifted the University of Alabama graduate to number one in the fledgling 2015-16 FedExCup standings, three events into the campaign.
Former Masters champion Scott burst into contention with a flawless final round of 63 which included seven birdies and an eagle, but fell just short.
Steele (68) had to settle for a share of third place alongside fellow American Kevin Na (67).
Padraig Harrington carded a final round 70 to leave him five under par overall and in 56th place. Birdies on the second, third, ninth, 17th and 18th were cancelled out by a flurry of bogeys on the 11th, 14th and 15th.