Justin Thomas wins the PGA championship after the collapse of Mito Pereira: the world of golf reacts

Justin Thomas made history with his surprising comeback in the final round after his rival fell apart on the last hole of the PGA championship.

Justin Thomas defeated fellow American Will Zalatoris by one stroke in a three-hole playoff aggregate to win the PGA championship in Southern Hills.

Thomas, the 2017 PGA champion, clinched his second major title by going two under par in the playoffs, with Zalatoris one under.

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Zalatoris and Thomas scored the par-5 13th. On par-4 17, Thomas led the green and two 36-foot birdie putts while Zalatoris chipped at seven feet but missed his birdie offer.

On the 18th hole, Zalatoris missed a 40-foot birdie try and Thomas made two 26-foot puts, tapping for par and victory.

Thomas, who started the day with seven drifting shots, equaled the biggest last-round comeback in PGA history; American John Mahaffey’s seven-shot rally in Oakmont in 1978.

The title came after a heartbreaking collapse on the last hole of Chilean Mito Pereira, who drove all day only to end up with a double bogey disaster and squander the trophy.

Thomas fired a three-under-par 67 in the final round and Zalatoris, runner-up last year’s Masters, shot 71 to finish 72 holes at Southern Hills stuck on five-under 275.

Pereira, who clung to at least part of the lead during a dramatic final round, just needed the par in the last hole to claim the trophy, but went straight into the water on the way for a double bandit to fall out of the lead, shooting a 75 to share third place with American Cameron Young out of 276.

Pereira received a lot of praise for the way he handled the defeat as he showed up in front of reporters and cameras after the heartbreaking fade.

“It’s hard to end up like this,” Pereira told CBS. “I didn’t play very well today, I just need a couple more birdies and I played a little better to win.

“I’m just happy with how the week went. On Monday I just wanted to make the cut. Sunday I wanted to win.

“I wasn’t thinking about water. I hit him in the water. It is strange that he entered.

“But I guess you have so much pressure in your body that you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Originally published as The world reacts to the star’s historic PGA championship return after rival implosion

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