Justin Thomas wins Bridgestone Invitational for 3rd PGA Tour title of season

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

Wish I could have converted a couple more of the chances, but it sort of all evened out.

Thomas will go down as the last victor of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

"I got a little choked up when I saw grandma and grandpa over there", Thomas said.

McIlroy made up three shots in the final round in 2014 when he rallied to beat Sergio Garcia at Firestone. Playing two groups in front of Perry, Short got within two shots with three holes to go, but Perry made a birdie putt at 16 for a three-shot cushion.

The course started to get a little firmer. A birdie at No. 10 put him three shots behind, but that was all he had.

Tiger Woods, an eight-time victor at the Firestone club hosting the Bridgestone for the last time, carded his second straight 73 to finish with a share of 31st.

Thomas entered the tournament looking to bounce back from a missed cut at the British Open and hoping to build some momentum building into a title defense next week at the PGA Championship.

Poulter carded a solid second round 67 himself, while world number three Thomas carded a round of 64, meaning the three are two strokes clear of their nearest rivals American Kyle Stanley and Australian Jason Day at Firestone.

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.

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"It was kind of one of the few things left that I felt I needed to knock off or felt that would have been nice to add to the resume, for sure", Thomas said.

Rory McIlroy, fresh off a runner-up finish at the British Open and BMW PGA Championships, started Sunday three back in the final group with Thomas and said Saturday he's getting exhausted of second-place finishes.

Firestone has held tour events since the Rubber City Open in 1954.

There may not be a more storybook ending to the 100th PGA Championship than one of golf's young stars completing the career grand slam at age 25.

Niemann has four top-10 finishes in 10 PGA Tour events this year, including a T5 finish at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier in July.

Bridgestone shifted its title sponsorship to the PGA Tour Champions, which will bring its Senior Players Championship to Firestone next year. Stanley closed with a 68.

That wasn't a problem Sunday - McIlroy shot 3-over 73 and finished T-6, making for another disappointing final round as he heads to St. Louis looking for his third PGA Championship title.

He said earlier this week that it "feels like I haven't won in forever". The ninth victory of his career moves him to No. 2 in the world, with a shot to regain the No. 1 ranking next week at the PGA Championship. "I can't really put it into words, honestly", he said. "Anytime you can birdie seven out of the first 10, you know you're doing something pretty well".

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