SEOUL (REUTERS) - Inaugural champion Justin Thomas staved off a challenge by Danny Lee to claim his second CJ Cup title in three years with a two-shot victory over the Korean-born New Zealander at Nine Bridges on Sunday (Oct 20).
The overnight leaders were level for the first 13 holes before Thomas surged ahead with a birdie on the 14th, while Lee bogeyed the 15th and 16th to effectively drop out of contention.
Thomas eventually signed off with a five-under 67 for a winning total of 20-under 268, while Lee carded 69 to finish in second place to the American.
"It was a very, very tough day," Thomas said after his 11th PGA Tour victory.
"Danny made it extremely difficult. He really made a lot of putts, a lot of unbelievable up and downs to kind of keep me from getting all the momentum. I really, really played solidly today.
"My dad turned 60 last week, so maybe it's a little 60th birthday gift to him."
It has been a difficult week for Lee whose second child, originally due closer to Christmas, was born prematurely last Sunday and is in an incubator.
"Before I tee off my very first tee shot on Thursday, if someone's going to give me solo second, I would take it in a heartbeat. It is a good week, but also very disappointing," he said.
"I really wanted to win the CJ CuP. It means a lot to me to win it in front of the Korean fans and all my Korean family, but it is what it is. I gave my best out there today and solo second was the best I could do."
Hideki Matsuyama (65), Gary Woodland (66) and Cameron Smith (69) shared third place at 15-under.
A further three shots behind was Jordan Spieth, who returned 71, while fellow American Phil Mickelson finished with 68 to be joined by Australian Jason Day (71) at seven-under.
PGA Tour's three-event Asian swing now moves to Japan where Tiger Woods will compete in the Zozo Championship before Shanghai hosts the World Golf Championships from Oct 31.