Justin Thomas Wins First Major at PGA Championship, Sportsbooks Win, Too

Posted on: August 14, 2017, 09:00h. 

Last updated on: August 14, 2017, 09:17h.

Justin Thomas was one off the lead heading to the back nine yesterday during the final round of the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, and while his close pal Jordan Spieth was all smiles watching his friend compete for the Wanamaker Trophy, a more important person was smiling down on the 24-year-old: the golfing gods.

Justin Thomas PGA Championship
Justin Thomas has some new hardware for his growing trophy collection. The PGA Championship marks his fourth win in the 2017 wraparound season. (Image: Chris O’Meara/Associated Press)

Thomas pulled his drive on the 10th tee into the trees, but the ball bounced out, over a sand trap, and into the middle of the fairway. Moments later, his birdie putt paused on the lip of the hole, seemingly robbing him of a four. Seconds later, it toppled over into the cup.

On 13, he chipped in from off the green for yet another birdie. A two on the difficult par-three 17th all but clinched it.

For Las Vegas sportsbooks, Thomas’ first major championship was a welcomed result. Heading into the PGA, the most money was on JT’s friend Jordan Spieth, who would have capped off the career grand slam with a win in North Carolina.

Spieth was greenside to congratulate his longtime friend.

“It’s a cool little friendship we have,” Thomas said of Spieth. “I think it shows were the game is right now. We obviously all want to win. We want to beat the other person. But if we can’t win, we at least want to enjoy it with our friends.”

Thomas Betting History

Prior to the start of round one, the Westgate SuperBook had Thomas at 35-1 to win the PGA. After a disappointing two-over 73, those odds lengthened to 80-1, giving a nice payday to the JT faithful who continued betting on him before the second round.

Thomas rebounded with a 66, the third best round of the entire week (Matsuyama and Francesco Molinari both shot 64s on Friday). The SuperBook dropped Thomas to 20-1 prior to the start of moving day.

But with a difficult Saturday setup, there wasn’t much moving to be done, except going the wrong way. Thomas played perhaps his best round of the week by scoring a two-under 69 that put him just two shots back of leader Kevin Kisner.

Before they teed off on Sunday, Thomas was at 9-2 to win the PGA, which equates to implied odds of just a little more than 18 percent. A $100 wager still netted $450.

Catastrophe Averted

Come Sunday, the two worst-case scenarios for oddsmakers would have been a Rickie Fowler or Hideki Matsuyama victory, both who found themselves in contention Sunday afternoon.

Matsuyama, the world’s third-ranked golfer heading into the PGA, was a popular pick at Las Vegas sportsbooks. The SuperBook said Matsuyama took in the fourth most money, and the third most tickets. With most slips wagered at 12-1, the SuperBook stood to have an expensive Monday should the Japanese star have prevailed.

Fowler took in the third most money and fourth most tickets. A late charge was, well, too late, and Fowler finished T5 with Matsuyama.