MEMPHIS — Justin Thomas wants to make his second time as the globe's top-ranked golfer last longer than the first.
"I hope so," Thomas said Sunday after winning the FedEx St. Jude Invitational to earn the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time since June 2018. "I feel like I'm a better player, and I feel like I'm more complete of a golfer now than I was then."
Thomas dueled 2019 tournament champion Brooks Koepka down the final holes, sealing the World Golf Championship victory on the par-5 16th at TPC Southwind. Thomas took the lead for good with his second straight birdie, while Koepka bogeyed the hole.
Koepka pulled within a stroke with a 39-footer for birdie on No. 17, but Koepka put his tee shot into the water along the 18th fairway on his way to a double bogey, allowing Thomas to make an easy par putt for what wound up a three-stroke victory.
Thomas closed with a 5-under-par 66 to finish at 13-under 267 and take the $10.5 million winner's check for his 13th PGA Tour title. At 27, he became the third-youngest player since 1960 to reach 13 PGA Tour wins, trailing only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.
"I've been fortunate to have a good career so far, but I plan on playing out here for a long time and have a lot of things that I still want to accomplish," Thomas said. "And every milestone and steppingstone is hopefully something that I can learn from and something that will help me even more in the long run."
One sign of progress for Thomas: This was the fifth time he rallied to win, and he matched his biggest comeback after starting the day four strokes behind third-round leader Brendon Todd. Thomas has three wins this season, two since the start of the year.
The last time Thomas was No. 1, he spent four weeks on top. He will supplant Spain's Jon Rahm, who became No. 1 after winning the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago and tied for 52nd in Memphis.
Koepka will go to TPC Harding Park in San Francisco this week hoping to repeat as the PGA championship winner, and he said he's feeling good about how he's playing. He finished with a 69 and tied for second with Daniel Berger (65), Tom Lewis (66) and Phil Mickelson (67).
Todd, the former University of Georgia star whose putting had carried him through the first three rounds, closed with at 75 and had to settle for a share of 15th.
Mighty big eagle
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Richy Werenski made an eagle on the par-4 16th hole at Tahoe Mountain Club's Old Greenwood Course, the biggest highlight of a 13-point final round as he secured a narrow victory over third-round leader Troy Merritt in the PGA Tour's lone modified Stableford scoring event.
Players receive eight points for an albatross, five for an eagle, two for a birdie, zero for a par, minus-1 for a bogey and minus-3 for a double or worse.
Although he had two bogeys Sunday, Werenski made up for it with five birdies plus the eagle to finish the tournament with 39 points. It's the first PGA Tour victory for the 28-year-old former Georgia Tech player, who lost a playoff at the 2017 Barracuda Championship and tied for third last weekend at the 3M Open after holding at least a share of the lead at end of each of the first three rounds.
Merritt, who led by four points after Saturday's play, netted just five points in the final round to finish with 38.
Furyk works fast
GRAND BLANC, Mich. — Jim Furyk turned 50 when professional golf was shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, and he made the most of his senior status on the course when the PGA Tour Champions returned.
Furyk closed with a 4-under 68 to win the Ally Challenge as Brett Quigley bogeyed his last two holes, becoming the first player since Miguel Angel Jimenez in 2014 to win his debut on the 50-and-older circuit.
The victory came at a familiar place. Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club was one of his favorite stops on the PGA Tour when it hosted the Buick Open until a decade ago — Furyk won there in 2003 and was a runner-up two other times.
Sunday's win was his first since the PGA Tour's RBC Heritage in 2015. Furyk finished the 54-hole tournament at 14-under 202, and now he heads to San Francisco for the PGA Championship; he earned a spot at the year's first major by remaining among the top 100 in the world.
Furyk, whose 17 titles on the PGA Tour include the 2003 U.S. Open and who four years ago set the circuit scoring record with a 58 at the Travelers Championship, was hardly out of competitive shape. He played five times on the PGA Tour over the past two months, making three cuts.
Quigley (71) tied for second with two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen (66) of South Africa. Chris DiMarco (65), Australia's Rod Pampling (68) and Wes Short Jr. (69) shared fourth.
Creating a buzz?
OMAHA, Neb. — Atlanta native Seth Reeves won the Pinnacle Bank Championship for his first Korn Ferry Tour title, making a late eagle and birdie for a one-stroke victory over five players who shared second place.
Reeves closed with a 7-under 64 to finish at 11-under 273 at The Club at Indian Creek. He eagled the par-5 15 and birdied the par-4 18th in his closing round.
The 29-year-old former Georgia Tech player earned $108,000 and jumped from 135th to 18th in the season points race for PGA Tour cards.
Third-round leader Ryan Ruffels bogeyed the 16th and 17th in a 73 to drop into a tie for second with Taylor Pendrith (66), Nick Voke (67), Carl Yuan (68) and Tyson Alexander (69).
BIRMINGHAM, England — Sam Horsfield closed with a 4-under 68 for a one-stroke win at the Hero Open.
The 23-year-old Englishman clinched his first European Tour title with an 18-under 270 total, holding off second-place Thomas Detry, whose 66 briefly gave him a share of the lead.
Detry, a 27-year-old Belgian, had nine birdies and three bogeys in his final round at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club.
Horsfield, who led by a stroke after three rounds, birdied the 17th hole to go ahead of Detry, already in the clubhouse, and secured victory with a par at the 18th. His victory was powered by his 63 on Friday.
England's Chris Paisley (70), Welshman Oliver Farr (71) and Sweden's Alexander Bjork (69) shared third at 14 under.
Steady and steely
TOLEDO, Ohio — Danielle Kang played the brand of steady golf that wins on tough courses, closing with a 2-under 70 at Inverness Club and winning the LPGA Drive On Championship in the tour's first event in more than five months.
The 27-year-old American and France's Celine Boutier turned the final hour into a terrific duel, and they were tied when Kang made her lone bogey on the par-5 13th with a poor chip from the thick collar.
It was Boutier who blinked last. She missed a short par putt on the 15th hole to fall one shot behind, then stuffed her approach to four feet below the hole on the 18th. Instead of a playoff, however, Boutier made a tentative stroke on a tricky putt and the ball caught the left edge of the cup and spun away.
Kang, the No. 4 player in the women's world ranking, won for the fourth time in her LPGA Tour career. It was her first LPGA competition since Jan. 23 in Florida. She did not go to Australia, and then the COVID-19 pandemic halted play on the Asian swing and through the first half of the summer.
Boutier closed with a 71 that wasn't quite good enough to catch Kang, who finished the 54-hole event at 7-under 209. Australia's Minjee Lee (70) was third, three shots out of the lead.