Tuesday 16 March 2021 7:30 am

Sam Torrance: Justin Thomas underlines Masters credentials with sublime showing at Sawgrass

One moment in the final round on Sunday summed up the whole weekend for Justin Thomas at the Players Championship.

Leading by one as he stood over the final tee, Thomas launched a perfect shot that sailed dangerously close to the water before skipping to safety after a kind bounce. 

There is no way he meant to hook it that much and the cheeky smile on his face showed that he knew it too. But this was his day.

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Thomas was sublime at Sawgrass to surge past Lee Westwood and Bryson DeChambeau. 

He didn’t put a foot wrong on Saturday, when he shot an eight-under-par 64, and followed that up with a beautiful 68 to win on Sunday.

Pound for pound, he is the biggest hitter around – there just isn’t much of him.

But he is such a great golfer and this win, his 14th on the PGA Tour, is a timely reminder that he’ll be one of the men to beat at the Masters next month.

Thomas was fourth last year and on each of his five visits to Augusta National he has finished higher up the leaderboard.

Westwood so close – again

It was a case of so close again for Westwood, who finished runner-up after a duel with DeChambeau for the second consecutive week.

Even for a 20-year-old, staying in contention in successive tournaments is tough – never mind for a 47-year-old like Lee – so if he tired a little, that is understandable.

And while he may say he’s not intimidated by DeChambeau’s long hitting, it must be very difficult to stay in your own zone when your playing partner is landing the ball 70 yards past yours time after time.

So Westwood deserves so much credit. He is a magnificent competitor and makes a great team with his fiancee Helen as caddie.   

It’s heartbreaking that he has never won a major but he will at least be taking good form into his 20th outing at the Masters. 

A record-equalling 11th appearance for Europe at the Ryder Cup also looks increasingly likely, thanks to his recent results.

More to come from enigma DeChambeau

DeChambeau is also sure to be in the spotlight at the Masters approaches.

He may have failed to live up to the hype last year, but he is still developing and there is much more to come from him.

It looks as though he now has more control over his incredible power. I suspect he might have cut down a little of his bulk, too.  

DeChambeau is an enigma, a first and very intelligent. I don’t think anyone has changed the face of golf like he has since Tiger Woods and it’s very exciting.

Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam.