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Golf Capsules

January 16, 2017 12:29 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — Challenged only by the record book, Justin Thomas won the Sony Open on Sunday with the lowest 72-hole score in PGA Tour history.

Thomas capped off his wonderful week at Waialae that began with a 59 with his second straight victory. He two-putted birdie from 60 feet on the par-5 18th and closed with a 5-under 65 to set the record at 253.

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Tommy Armour III shot 254 at the 2003 Texas Open.

"It's been an unbelievable week. Unforgettable," Thomas said before going to sign his historic card.

Make that two weeks.

The 23-year-old from Kentucky won at Kapalua last week by three shots, then destroyed the full field at the Sony Open to win by seven shots. Thomas is the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 (Buick Open and Bridgestone Invitational) to win back-to-back weeks by three shots or more.

Justin Rose closed with a 64 to finish alone in second. Jordan Spieth was third after a 63.

The first full-field event of the year on the PGA Tour was a one-man show.

Thomas began the final round with a seven-shot lead and no one got closer than five shots all day. His only nervous moment was an 8-foot par putt on the sixth hole when he was five shots ahead. He made that, and the rest of the day was a Pacific breeze.

Thomas joined Ernie Els in 2003 as the only players to sweep Hawaii, and this performance might have been even better. Thomas was 49-under par for his two weeks, compared with Els at 47 under.

Thomas joined Johnny Miller (1974 and 1975) and Tiger Woods (2003, 2008, 2013) as the only players in 50 years to win three of the their first five starts in a PGA Tour season. It started last fall with the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. He moved to No. 8 in the world.

SA OPEN

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Graeme Storm beat Rory McIlroy on the third playoff hole in the SA Open on Sunday for his second European Tour title, 80 days after the Englishman lost his tour card by 100 euros.

After the 251st-ranked Storm tapped in for a par, the second-ranked McIlroy slid his par putt wide from 7 feet on their fourth visit to the 18th hole at Glendower Golf Club.

Storm closed with a 1-under 71 to match McIlroy (68) at 18-under 270.

Storm lost his card at the end of last year, only to get a reprieve when American Patrick Reed failed to play enough events to keep his card. Storm also won the 2007 French Open.

McIlroy said he will have tests on his back Monday to make sure he is fit enough to play in Abu Dhabi without further damage. Making his first start of the year, McIlroy felt pain in his back before the second round and it lingered throughout the final day.

DIAMOND RESORTS INVITATIONAL

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — 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 6-under 66 on the Four Seasons Resort's Tranquilo course, 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.

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-5 12th.

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

LATIN AMERICA AMATEUR

PANAMA CITY (AP) — 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 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 1-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 3 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.

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.

Credits

By The Associated Press

(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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