So it will be a semifinal match between two players who at one time thought they wouldn't be in Austin this long.
Watson, the 35th seed, won the first five holes of the final and never looked back in taking his 11th US PGA title and second of the year after winning last month at Riviera.
"I just didn't get off to the same stat that I have been".
"I played well today, but just didn't get off to the same starts that I have been", Thomas told Golf Channel after his round.
Thomas gave South Korean 50th seed Kim Si-woo no chance in their round-of-16 match, plundering Austin Country Club for a 6&5 victory in benign morning conditions. His last hope was on the par-5 16th, and his second shot went through the green and onto a dirt path with a boundary fence right behind him.
Watson won for the second time this year, adding him to the list of favorites for the Masters. I'll just chill out, rest up a little bit, recharge the batteries, get into the gym.
"I haven't had such a hard time not thinking about something so much". The 35-year-old, whose US base is in Jupiter, Florida, never trailed against Jacksonville resident and Aussie Smith.
A first title at Augusta would make him the sixth player to complete a career grand slam.
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But he was three down after six holes to compatriot Watson and lost 3&2.
Asked how he felt going into the weekend, Thomas replied, "The same as the other 16 guys".
World number 39 Watson will play the victor of the match between Sweden's Alex Noren and USA's Kevin Kisner.
Mar 24, 2018; Austin, TX, USA; Bubba Watson of the United States tees off on number 8 playing against Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand during the fifth round of the WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play golf tournament at Austin Country Club.
Watson, the 2012 and 2014 Masters victor, seeks his 11th US PGA crown just five weeks after a victory at Riviera and with this year's Masters set to open April 5 at Augusta National.
Kevin Kisner, a 4-and-3 victor over Johnson, figured he was headed for a playoff when Adam Hadwin took a 1-up lead on the 18th over Bernd Wiesberger. After missing a 15-footer for birdie at the 18th, Kuchar watched Kisner sink a 12-footer for his birdie to win.
Noren beat Thomas 5&3 for third place. His 12-foot birdie putt to win with the 13th again narrowly missed, and the force with which Thomas whipped the putter shaft onto his shoulder showed his frustration. Noren missed an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that would have closed out the match, then opened the door for Kisner with a poor eagle putt on the first extra hole that barely stayed on the green.