While he made bogey on No. 10, an incredible approach from the rough on the next hole quickly offset it. Thomas answered with three birdies on the next five holes, and Cantlay couldn't keep up.
Thomas watched a six-shot lead shrink to two in a span of three holes around the turn until regaining control with two great wedges and two pivotal putts.
Both Patrick Cantlay and Hideki Matsuyama made a push on Sunday to try and catch the 26-year-old.
Cantlay finished solo second (22 under) after nine birdies helped him to a seven-under 65.
Leishman also had a good day at Medinah, shooting a second consecutive 67 to finish tied-19, and he will be ranked 21 of 30 going into Atlanta next week.
The city of Chicago and the Western Golf Association once again play host to the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club, the penultimate stop in the PGA TOUR's 2019 FedExCup Playoffs.
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Thomas rolled in a four-metre birdie putt at the last for a closing 68 and 25-under par overall, clinching his 10 win on tour but his first in a year.
Despite two birdies in his first five holes, Woods finished with an even-par 72 on Sunday at the BMW Championship to bring him to 7-under on the week.
MEDINAH, Ill. - The end came quicker than he wanted - and likely expected - and undoubtedly Tiger Woods was disappointed in not being able to qualify for next week's Tour Championship. He was tied for 31st, with about 18 players ahead of where he needs to be to move into the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings. He needed to finish inside the top 11 to advance, however, which was still a tall task. For Thomas, winning means a return to Maui to start the year with the rest of the PGA Tour winners.
"This golf course, when I played here on Tuesday for the first time, I was nearly convinced a single digit (score) was going to win", Finau said. The short game was most disappointing.
The perks of the Tour Championship include a chase for a $15 million top prize, along with a spot in all the majors next year. He played in just 11 official events, and frequently jumped from major championship to major championship. For most of the summer, Woods was unable to get into any kind of competitive rhythm, and it hurt him with a missed cut at The Open and then a lack of preparation for the BMW. A week after causing considerable concern about his future with a withdrawal after just one round at the Northern Trust due to an oblique strain, Woods showed significant improvement.