Justin Thomas has been a gamer for nearly all of his young PGA Tour career. His 2017 season has already provided thrilling theater, from a 59 at the Sony Open to a 63 at the U.S. Open. But while the hot rounds have been record-setting and legendary, Thomas had not, until this week, strung together four rounds of major championship-winning golf.
Things started going Thomas' way at the par-5 10th hole. His driver gave him the distance needed to excel at Quail Hollow, but his tee shot on 10 hooked way left into the trees. It landed in the tree and bounced back miraculously in the fairway. And that wasn't even close to the most incredible shot on that hole.
That would be the putt that hung on the left edge of the cup on the 10th green for 12 seconds before dropping in the cup for a birdie. Thomas celebrated with a bow to the crowd and a Michael Jordan-style shrug to some familiar faces nearby.
The tournament started to move in JT's direction at 10, but it was this chip-in at 13 that brought the gallery to its feet, creating a roar that surely shook the rest of the leaders in contention for the title at that point. The birdie moved Thomas to 8-under, two strokes clear of the field.
Then there was the icing on the cake: Thomas' birdie on 17. JT approached the middle stretch of the green mile and took aim at the front corner pin on the par-3 green surrounded by water. A wayward shot could have lost him the tournament, but he dropped it in close enough to sink his birdie and all-but-declare his place one of the golf's bright young stars.