JUSTIN Thomas has found peak form just in time for the 2018 PGA Championship.
In an emotional week for the professional golfing community, the 25-year-old American blitzed the field at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational to reclaim second spot in the world rankings.
He dedicated the victory to Jarrod Lyle, the popular Australian golfer who recently conceded defeat in his third and final battle with leukaemia.
“This win, and this week, was definitely for Jarrod,” Thomas told reporters after the win at Firestone.
“I wanted that yellow hat (like Lyle used to wear) and I asked if we could get some, but everything in stock was sent to Jarrod, which is understandable.
“But I was glad we could get the yellow ribbons to show some appreciation.”
Most online bookmakers have Thomas on the top few lines of betting for the PGA, which starts Thursday, August 9 at Missouri’s Bellerive Country Club.
He is rated a +1200 chance at 5Dimes, with only Dustin Johnson (+800) and Rory McIlroy (+1100) above him.
Also in the mix at the Bridgestone Invitational was Jason Day, who shares a +1800 quote with Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka.
The Aussie star, who has not won a major title since breaking through at the 2015 PGA Championship, is hoping a high-profile grouping with Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley will force him to make a fast start.
“I’m looking forward to playing with Phil,” Day said.
“I remember playing with him at Baltusrol (in 2016); he always brings a big crowd.
“But when you have a big crowd, it forces you to focus in a lot more, so I’m happy about that.”
The top tips to win a maiden major are Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm at +2000 apiece.
Just a step back from that trio are the +2500 pair of Francesco Molinari and Tiger Woods.
It was Molinari who emerged victorious down the home stretch at the British Open last month, but Tiger’s performance has set tongues wagging about his chances in St Louis this week.
Best bet: Dustin Johnson
- Outright winner – +800 at 5Dimes
- Lowest round – +1000
The world number one came home with a wet sail at the Bridgestone, carding a final-round 64 to grab a share of third place. He has played well all year without any success in the majors and will be out to prove a point after missing the cut at the Open.
Value pick: Francesco Molinari
- Outright winner – +2500 at 5Dimes
- Top 10 finish – +250
Some have cast Molinari’s Open win as a flash in the pan, but we are talking about a guy who has now won three times in 2018 after finishing second in last year’s USPGA. If he continues to putt like he did over the weekend at Carnoustie, he could do anything.
No go: Tiger Woods
- Outright winner – +2500 at 5Dimes
- To miss the cut – +350
Yes, Tiger was excellent at the British Open. This has been a taxing year for the 14-time major champ, however, and he looked well short of full fitness while slipping to 31st in the WGC last week. Hot, humid conditions in Missouri will not help Woods at all.
2018 PGA Championship odds
+800 – Dustin Johnson
+1100 – Rory McIlroy
+1200 – Justin Thomas
+1800 – Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka
+2000 – Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose
+2500 – Francesco Molinari, Tiger Woods
+3300 – Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau
+3500 – Patrick Reed
+4000 – Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson
+5000 – Paul Casey, Marc Leishman, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson
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