It was fitting that Justin Thomas made his last birdie putt of the week on Sunday at the BMW Championship. It felt like he made everything else he looked at as well en route to his 10th win, a FedEx Cup Playoff victory at Medinah Country Club by three over Patrick Cantlay.
It didn't start all that splendidly though. In fact, it began quite differently than his 61 on Saturday started. Thomas birdied his first five holes in Round 3, but in Round 4 on Sunday, he started with a bogey off the top and played them in even par.
He was still even par through 10 holes, and Cantlay had pulled within two strokes. Closers close, though, and Thomas shut it down with four birdies in his last eight holes including that 14-footer at the last for his first victory since the 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
"I stayed patient," Thomas told Golf Channel. "Patrick made that very interesting. It was very difficult to start the day. ... I hit the ball so bad to start the day. I made it so hard on myself because usually I'm pretty good at hitting fairways and greens, and I couldn't hit a fairway so that was a hard start."
On the weekend, Thomas only hit 16 of 28 fairways. He finished outside the top 40 in that category for the week but was buoyed by his phenomenal iron play. It's been his bread and butter throughout the course of his tremendous career, and it was again this week. He gained nearly eight strokes on the field on approach shots.
It's easy to forget this, but Thomas has now joined an elite list of 10-win golfers who also have a major. Actively, that list includes Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Ernie Els, Kim Furyk, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose. Thomas has already obtained career marks similar to Rose and Garcia at age of 26. Historically? It's even crazier.
This week -- between the 61 and the close and the new No. 1 in the FedEx Cup -- was a good reminder of how outrageous the talent is in J.T. Maybe not just to us either.
"I was really nervous today," Thomas told Golf Channel. "It's hard to play with a lead. I was enjoying it though. I was like, 'This is why you play.' I forgot how hard it is to win. This is why it's taken this long. This game is so hard you don't know how often things like this are going to happen, but we've been working hard to get back to it and it feels great."
Nobody -- not even J.T. -- knows how many wins he'll end up with. But when you're stacking up BMWs and WGCs and majors like Thomas is with a flair for the drama of a 59 or a 61 in the process, the one thing we can be sure of is that we're seeing something pretty special at the highest level of golf. Grade: A+
Here are the rest of our grades for the 2019 BMW Championship.
Brooks Koepka (T24): Koepka mostly did what he needed to do on the weekend at Medinah. He wasn't going to catch Thomas, but by shooting a 67 on Sunday, he retained the No. 3 slot in the FedEx Cup standings and will go to East Lake trailing only J.T. by two strokes and Patrick Cantlay (who shot a 65) by one. He'll lead everyone else in that field come next Thursday. Grade: B-
: It was an uphill climb all week for Woods after his first-round 71. He knew he had to play special golf for three straight rounds, and he could only muster one (a 67 on Saturday). His season ends the way it unfolded: Up and down and inconsistent marked by one fabulous victory at a famous course in north Georgia. Woods just didn't have the juice for most of the rest of the year, and this event at Medinah was representative of that reality. Grade: A
Jordan Spieth (T37): At the very least, Spieth was consistent. He shot three rounds of 70 and one of 71 en route to his T37 finish. Unfortunately for him, he needed something around the top five to advance to the Tour Championship, and now he's going to miss out on the PGA Tour season finale for the second straight year. Think about telling yourself that sentence just after his Open Championship win at Royal Birkdale a little over two years ago. Grade: C
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