Justin Thomas wins in Firestone’s WGC finale

Tiger Woods made five birdies and just one bogey in his opening round

Woods couldn't keep pace.

"It's always tough to follow a near-perfect round of golf", Poulter said. "I'm really putting well", the 42-year-old American told Golf Channel.

McIlroy won at Bay Hill in March and has three runner-up finishes, and he had said Saturday afternoon he was exhausted of finishing second.

Of course, a four-shot win at Firestone and a first World Golf Championship victory will make that angst go away quickly.

We haven't even started talking about the guys with one major - Johnson, Rose, Thomas, Day - that could separate themselves from that group this week.

While there was some emotion involved, Thomas might also step back for some perspective.

Again, Justin Thomas is good at golf. Spieth has not won since the 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale. Thomas had a couple of early setbacks but was commanding thereafter, plotting his way round the treacherous terrain so efficiently that he shot a 67 and finished with a three-stroke lead at 14 under par.

Funny, that friendship/rivalry with Spieth - who tied for 60th and shot three rounds in the 70s this week.

Thomas, who defends his title next week in the PGA Championship, goes after his third victory of the season, but first in five months.

Sweetest of all was seeing his grandparents, especially the embrace after he tapped in for par to finish at 15-under 265.

Virat Kohli rates Edgbaston knock second to Adelaide 2014
But the very fact that Kohli plays all three formats so well makes him a more hard player to stop [for any captain]. Interestingly , Virat Kohli's celebration on the ground after hitting a century was also eye-catching.

Thomas won for the ninth time in his career and moves to No. 2 in the world, with a shot to regain the No. 1 ranking next week.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Just played like crap", said Woods. We've played together a lot in tournaments, but never in this kind of situation, so it will be different. He was trying too hard, maybe. "He's just letting his potential go through now".

"I played well enough to win a few times this year and I only got over the line once", McIlroy said. "It was pretty cool to have my grandma and grandad watching me". That's what I'm out here for.

"I was getting frustrated on the back nine", he said.

Justin Thomas made sure the anticipated duel with Rory McIlroy on Sunday was more like a rout.

"I'm fine", he said. "To me, that's not as frustrating as what I was doing yesterday - just hitting bad putts".

Thomas had not had a score better than 67, and he had not finished higher than a tie for 28th in his two previous appearances at Firestone.

Paul was a career club professional and played at Firestone in the 1960 US PGA Championship, missing the 54-hole cut.

"They don't get to come out that often anymore, so this is my first PGA Tour win with him here and it's really special". I just had to put my head down.

The World Golf Championships in Akron has a yearly economic impact of more than $21 million according to Firestone's website.

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