Golf

Spieth thrilled with strong finish

Defending champion Jordan Spieth ended an up-and-down week on a "very satisfying" note as he closed with a sparkling eight-under 65 for a share of third place at the SBS Tournament of Champions in Hawaii yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Having carded three bogeys, two doubles and a triple-bogey over the previous two days at the Kapalua Resort on the island of Maui, Spieth rebounded in flawless style with eight birdies in the final round, including five in the last seven holes.

"That was very satisfying," said the world No. 5 after finishing at 16-under 276, six strokes behind his friend Justin Thomas, who clinched his third US PGA Tour victory.

"I had five over-par holes on each day the last two days that really kind of took my chances away at this tournament, but to come back and fire a strong one today... I certainly take a lot of confidence off this round going into next week."

Spieth, who won last year's Tournament of Champions by eight shots at Kapalua, will make his second PGA Tour appearance of the year at the Sony Open in Honolulu this week.

The day belonged to Thomas, who held off a red-hot Hideki Matsuyama to win his third PGA Tour title with a final-round 69.

Thomas' four-under effort gave him a 22-under total of 270 and a three-shot win over Japan's Matsuyama, who arrived in Hawaii having won four of his prior five tournaments worldwide.

But the 23-year-old American had to survive some tense moments on the back nine to pip Matsuyama, who started the day two behind Thomas and carded a 70 for 273.

Matsuyama had a 10-foot birdie putt to move into a tie for the lead at 16th, but left it inches short.

And, at 17th, he three-putted for bogey as Thomas rolled in a three-footer for birdie to rebuild his lead before they both birdied Kapalua's par-five 18th.

"It's a great feeling," said Thomas.

"I stumbled a bit more than I would have liked on some of those holes, but it really shows where my game's at right now.

"I stuck it out to still get it done." - WIRE SERVICES

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