Justin Thomas was quite literally making everything, stringing together 10 consecutive one-putts while building a seemingly insurmountable three-shot lead with three holes to play at the Workday Charity Open. So even though Collin Morikawa's efforts to save par at No. 15 were admirable, they looked to be too little and too late. His second PGA Tour victory would have to wait. But Thomas came back to reality just in time for the hunted to be come the hunter and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a stunning, Ohio thrill ride which reminded us of the sport's uncanny ability to deliver.
Morikawa pared No. 16 and watched Thomas finally miss from the green. The lead was two. Then Morikawa fired in a birdie to JT's par on the penultimate hole. A wild scramble at 18 meant watching a potential tournament-clincher sail right and a three-footer to force a playoff.
And folks, did it ever come close to grabbing the third rail and shorting out all the lights.
The breathless microseconds spent watching the ball circle had to bring back terrible memories for the second-year player, who had one do the same last month, eliminating his chance to compete in a playoff.
But down it went, and on we went, boldly into one of the more memorable playoff holes in recent memory. Both guys found the rough, then the green. Thomas strode up confidently and bombed in a 50-footer. Morikawa was yet again was down to his last strike, needing a 24-footer to find the mark. And once again, he found extra life in the bottom, like Indiana Jones with a carpenter's chalice. Or Mario with a mushroom.
Perhaps video games or fiction is the best backdrop for what happened, to be presented later today on tape-delay. Because it was magical, and unreal. Morikawa eventually prevailed on the third playoff hole to capture an unpredictable and extremely hard-fought win. The 23-year-old became the Undertaker GIF, rising from the sand to expose freezing cold takes about Thomas' presumed victory.
It was, in a word, spectacular. The kind of performance and narrative arc that has one rooting for all the characters knowing one had to lose. It was also bizarre as the only primal screams came from Thomas. No gallery dulled the senses, yet heightened the drama.
Every nail in the coffin proved to be faulty. Life -- and Morikawa -- found a way.