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Justin Thomas won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in a three-man playoff over Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele for his third victory in his last six starts on the PGA Tour, and the 12th of his career. Thomas, 26, now has more victories than any active players younger than 30.

 

He birdied six out of eight holes to turn a two-shot deficit into a two-shot lead with three holes to play.

 

He fell into a playoff by hitting at toe-hook off the tee at the par-5 18th, followed by a 3-wood that landed in knee-high vegetation so thick that a nine-member search party couldn’t find it. He made bogey.

 

Schauffele became only the fourth player in the final round to reach the 18th green, a 3-wood that left him a 35-foot eagle attempt. He three-putted for par, missing a 7-foot putt for the win.

 

Thomas, who had stood off the green with his cap removed and his head bowed anticipating defeat, suddenly had another chance. It also gave life to Reed, who nearly an hour earlier had made a 20-foot birdie putt for a 66 — matching the best score of the tournament — that he figured would fall short at 14-under 278.

 

It was the first three-man playoff since the tournament moved to Kapalua in 1999.

 

Schauffele was eliminated with a three-putt par from 100 feet on the 18th in the playoff. Thomas had to watch Reed have two putts at the win, a 30-foot eagle putt on the first extra hole, a 12-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole. Reed missed them both, and Thomas finished him off on the final hole before darkness.

 

The wind on the Plantation Course is most treacherous on the greens, with players having to guess if a 30 mph gust will knock putts offline or give them too much speed. That’s what cost Thomas on the 18th in regulation, and it cost Reed on the last two playoff holes.

 

Thomas carries momentum to the Sony Open in Honolulu, and perhaps the rest of the year and beyond. He remains No. 4 in the world, but his record since June bears noting. He has not finished worse than a tie for 17th in his last 11 tournaments worldwide.

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