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Justin Thomas finishes off Sony Open win in record-setting fashion

Sony Open In Hawaii - Final Round
Justin Thomas waits for the awards ceremony after winning the Sony Open with a PGA Tour-record score of 253.
(Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

One last putt. One more record. And two unforgettable weeks in Hawaii for Justin Thomas. 

Thomas began the Sony Open with a 15-foot eagle putt on his final hole to shoot 59. He ended it Sunday with a two-putt birdie from 60 feet that gave him yet another entry in the PGA Tour record book for the lowest 72-hole score in history. 

His final act was to stand before the members of Waialae Country Club, champagne flute in hand for the traditional toast. Thomas chugged it down, smiled and said to them, “I think I had a glass with a hole in it.” 

Bottoms up, kid. 

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The 23-year-old from Kentucky gave the best glimpse yet of his potential with a game that was at times overpowering and never more efficient. He closed with a five-under-par 65 for a seven-shot victory, which gave him as much satisfaction as his score of 253 to set the record. 

Thomas, who won the CIMB Classic in Malaysia last fall, became only the third player since 1970 to win three times in his first five tournaments to start a PGA Tour season. The others were Tiger Woods (three times) and Johnny Miller (twice). 

His victory came one week after he won the SBS Tournament of Champions by three weeks at Kapalua. 

“It’s been an unbelievable week. Unforgettable,” Thomas said before going to sign his historic card. 

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Thomas was more nervous than ever when he arrived Sunday from endless mentions that no one had ever lost a seven-shot lead on the PGA Tour. No one got closer than five shots all day, and with four birdies in a five-hole stretch around the turn, Thomas took aim at the record book. 

That was his only real challenge Sunday. 

Tommy Armour held the previous 72-hole mark at 254 in the 2003 Texas Open. Thomas also set the 36-hole record (123) and tied Steve Stricker for the 54-hole record (188). And while his 18-hole score of 59 is no longer a record, it’s still a magic number. 

“I’m not joking when I say I won the other tournament,” Justin Rose said after a 64 that was only good for second place. “Had he had a bad day, I was there to pick up the pieces. But that was never going to happen. He’s on cruise control right now.” 

Rose beat out Jordan Spieth, who also was playing for second place. Spieth shot 63 and finished alone in third. 

Austin claims wire-to-wire win 

Woody Austin completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Diamond Resorts Invitational and former pitcher Mark Mulder took the celebrity title. 

Austin closed with a six-under 66 on the Four Seasons Resort’s Tranquilo course in Orlando, Fla., earning 31 points in the modified Stableford scoring system to finish the three-round event at 104 — eight points ahead of second-place Joe Durant. Austin opened with an 11-under 59.

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A three-time winner last year on the PGA Tour Champions, the 52-year-old Austin had seven birdies and one bogey in the final round, with a birdie worth three points, a par one point and a bogey zero points. Coming off offseason hernia surgery, Austin missed only one fairway and one green in regulation Sunday.

Mulder rallied to top of the celebrity division, scoring 30 points in a 67 to finish with 77 points. Former tennis player Mardy Fish, the winner last year, and former kicker Ryan Longwell tied for second with 67 points. Second-round leader Ray Allen was fourth with 66. 

Mulder made two six-point eagles, chipping in from 25 yards on the par-5 seventh and holing a 25-footer on the par-five 12th. 

Lexi Thompson was 11th with 83 points to top the four LPGA Tour players in the professional field. 

Gana earns spot in Masters 

Toto Gana of Chile atoned for a bogey on the final hole by making a short birdie putt to win a three-man playoff in the Latin America Amateur Championship at Panama City and earn a spot in the Masters. 

The 19-year-old Gana thought he had it won in regulation at the Golf Club of Panama until his 15-foot par putt on the 18th hole caught the right edge of the cup. He closed with a one-over 71 and slipped into a three-man playoff with his best friend, Joaquin Niemann of Chile, and Alvaro Ortiz of Mexico. 

On the second playoff hole, the 433-yard 10th, Gana had 97 yards to a front pin. He eyed it the whole way until it settled to within three feet from the cup. He calmly tapped in his birdie putt after Ortiz, who missed his birdie try from some 65 feet away, made par. Niemann caught a plugged lie in a bunker and made bogey. 

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The winner of the Latin American Amateur, which began three years ago, gets an invitation to play in the Masters and an exemption into the final stages of qualifying for the U.S. Open and British Open. 


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