Justin Thomas on Sawgrass finale: ‘Probably one of the best rounds of my life’

Justin Thomas admitted he was exceptionally dialed in during the final round of the Players Championship, as he narrowly held off Lee Westwood for the win.

The American was seven shots off the lead after 36 holes and still three behind Westwood heading into the final round, but followed a 64 on Saturday with a 68 on Sunday to claim a 14th PGA Tour title and the £1.9million first prize.

The victory makes Thomas only the fourth player ever to win the Players Championship, a major championship, a World Golf Championships event and the FedEx Cup after Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy.

Interestingly, Thomas admitted that the return of fans made for a much tougher challenge out there, although lucky for him he had a rock-solid game to rely on.

“I tell you what, it’s a lot harder than when there weren’t fans here, that’s for sure, and I’m so happy they’re back and I’m so happy to be a Players champion,” he said.

“I fought so hard today. I stayed really patient. Probably one of the best rounds of my life tee to green. I had total control of the ball and was hitting a lot of good putts, I just wasn’t holing anything.

“But I stayed patient and stayed patient… I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff on TV happen in the past on this back nine, so I was glad to be on the better side of it this year.”

Thomas is good friends with Tiger Woods and said he was lucky enough to receive some encouragement from the 15-time major champion during the tournament.

“I was replaying what he told me a lot in my head. He likes to give me a lot of grief, especially when he’s not here,” he said.

“Like Collin [Morikawa] and Bryson [DeChambeau] said, we’re all pulling for him and I’m so glad to hear everything’s been going well with him.

“Part of me wishes he was here so I could rub it in his face a little more, but no, I’m happy and I hope he’s happy and I’ll always appreciate his help.”

Asked what particular advice Tiger had given him, Thomas said he’d keep that between the two of them.

“It’s been a lot of stuff, but you know, but it’s between us. It’s great. He’s so nice to myself and Bryson and so many guys out here.

“If you would have told us when we were 15, 20 years old that Tiger Woods is texting us the night before we have a chance to win a tournament, trying to inspire us… it’s pretty cool.”

Thomas recently lost his grandfather, with whom he had a very close relationship, and he had to fight through tears when asked how much of a part of his grandfather was with him today.

“A lot. I wish I could talk to him… but I know he’s watching,” Thomas said.