Titleist brand ambassador Justin Thomas (Pro V1x) birdied his final two holes to become the first PGA TOUR winner of the 2017 calendar year, capturing the SBS Tournament of Champions by three shots.
The 23-year-old also becomes the first multiple-winner of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR season, having won two of his first four starts.
He defended his CIMB Classic title in October for his first win of the year and now has three career PGA TOUR victories.
It marked the first professional victory in the United States for Thomas, who fired three consecutive rounds of 67 before closing with a 4-under-par 69 en route to a 22-under 270 victory total.
Thomas topped a leaderboard that included seven Titleist golf ball loyalists among the 11 players who finished in the top 10 and ties.
Titleist brand ambassador Jordan Spieth (New Prototype Pro V1x golf ball) , the defending champion who closed with a spotless 65, tied for 3rd place with Titleist golf ball loyalists Ryan Moore (Pro V1x) and Pat Perez (Pro V1), six shots behind Thomas.
Titleist golf ball loyalist Brendan Steele (Pro V1x) finished in a three-way tied for 6th, another shot back, while Titleist brand ambassador Jimmy Walker (New Prototype Pro V1x) tied for 9th.
The win vaults Thomas to a projected 12th in the Official World Golf Rankings, his highest position as a professional.
There were 38 champions from 47 qualifying events for the 2017 SBS Tournament of Champions during the 2016 PGA TOUR calendar year.
There was a field of 32 with six players declining, including Titleist brand ambassador Adam Scott (Pro V1) and Titleist golf ball loyalists Henrik Stenson (Pro V1) and Charl Schwartzel (Pro V1).
Titleist players making their SBS Tournament of Champions debut were Titleist brand ambassador Greg Chalmers (Barracuda Championship) and Titleist golf ball loyalists Branden Grace (RBC Heritage), Jim Herman (Shell Houston Open), Billy Hurley III (Quicken Loans National), Mackenzie Hughes (RSM Classic) and Brian Stuard (Zurich Classic of New Orleans).
A LOOK AT THE STATS:
Statistically, it was not surprising that Thomas came out on top. Trusting his Pro V1x golf ball and a full bag of Titleist equipment from tee-through-green, Thomas finished 3rd in Driving Distance (301.7 yards), 2nd in Greens in Regulation (87.5%) and T1 in Putts Per Greens in Regulation (1.683 - tied with Spieth).
Thomas also finished 2nd in Birdies (25), including the seven he recorded in the final round.
FROM THE CHAMPION:
“I still have plenty of other goals that I would like to achieve over the long-term, the course of the year,” Thomas said after the victory, ”but winning twice in the first four events helps, for sure.”
“Sounds kind of nice now that I just said that out loud. I feel like, you know, we'll sit back, we'll enjoy this tonight, this afternoon. But I'm going to have to regroup and focus on next week, because next week is a course that I really like and I feel like another good opportunity for me to be in the hunt and have a chance to win.
I think that's where I'm growing a little bit more in that it's week-to-week. It's not looking at previous weeks when I'm at a tournament or looking at following events when I'm at a tournament; I am focusing on that week. And once it's over, take the positives, try to blow over the negatives and go on to the next.”
Let's take a closer look at the equipment that Justin Thomas and the top Titleist finishers trusted this week at the SBS Tournament of Champions.
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x golf ball
Driver: 917D3 (9.5°)
Fairway: 917F3 (15°), 915Fd (18°)
Irons: 716 MB (4-9)
Wedges: Vokey Design SM6 pitching (46°), gap (52°), sand (56°) and lob (60°)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Futura X5
Jordan Spieth (T3): New Titleist Prototype Pro V1x golf ball, 915D2 driver, 915F fairway metal, 816H2 hybrid, 716 T-MB 4-iron, 716 AP2 irons, Vokey Design SM6 pitching, gap, sand and lob wedges, Scotty Cameron 009 putter
Ryan Moore (T3): Titleist Pro V1x golf ball
Pat Perez (T3): Titleist Pro V1 golf ball
TITLEIST BY THE NUMBERS
At the first event of the 2017 calendar year, Titleist was the overwhelming field favorite in golf balls with 19 players in the field of 32 (59%), nearly five times the nearest competitor with 4.
Titleist was also the top choice in the hybrid (T1-4) and irons (6) categories. Vokey Design Wedges topped the approach, sand and lob wedge (31) category and Scotty Cameron putters were the top choice in putters (12).
Jordan Spieth (T3) and Jimmy Walker (T9) each played the New prototype Pro V1x golf ball in their Top 10 finishes to start 2017.
It was a 1-2 finish for Cameron putters at the event, while Spieth tied for 3rd with a Cameron model.