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After holding on for a roller coaster of a playoff victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Justin Thomas chalked it up to fate.
“For some reason I was supposed to win this week,” said Thomas, who birdied the third playoff hole Sunday evening at Kapalua after a day filled with great shots and not-so-great shots. “I got very lucky to even have that putt.”
Xander Schauffele, one of the two players (along with Patrick Reed) whom Thomas beat in the playoff, would likely agree. The defending champion, Schauffele couldn’t help but feel like he gave away the tournament.
Leading Thomas by a shot entering the day, Schauffele stretched his advantage to two shots through seven holes. But a three-putt bogey from 68 feet at the par-3 eighth erased that lead. Ten holes later, Schauffele hit the par-5 18th green in two shots before three-putting from 35 feet, missing a 7-foot birdie putt that would’ve avoided a playoff and given Schauffele his second straight title to open a new year.
Finally, a third three-putt, this one from 102 feet on the first extra hole, eliminated Schauffele from the playoff after he missed a 23-footer for par.
“I should’ve won the tournament,” Schauffele said. “I know it. Everyone knows it.”
“I kind of did everything I was supposed to until the last moment, which sucks,” he continued, “but it’s another learning experience and I guess I’ll have to work on some wind putting.”