TULSA, ACLA. – Most of Justin Thomas’ peers would gladly agree to be called “unreachable” if they had his powers in less than ten years of his career.
Thomas reached the pinnacle of the sport by his 25th birthday, winning the PGA Championship in 2017, beating three golfers, two – Francesco Malinari and Luis Ostheisen – with more than 10 years of experience than Thomas.
But the early success – Thomas has won eight tours before his 25th birthday – raises high expectations. And high expectations can lead to unnecessary internal pressure.
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Thomas admits he is under pressure to win the second major. It doesn’t matter that he’s on his way to a career in the Hall of Fame with 14 wins in the PGA Tour, including the 2021 Players ’Championship and the 2017 FedEx Cup, which go along with his one major. But he says that when he enters the specialty, something will move internally, and he knows that it follows from these expectations.
“It’s a lot harder to get a second than I thought internally,” Thomas said this week. “Not so much pressure outwardly, but only on me. If you win one to get where you want, you have to win the next. And if you get into a little drought, it can be frustrating.” “
In the middle of the PGA Championship Thomas, who lives on Jupiter, finds himself able to stop this drought. Drought, however, is a relative concept given that only three players in the field have more wins on the Tour than Thomas.
Justin Thomas is on the list of PGA leaders
Thomas caught one Jupiter resident Rory McIlroy during an early wave on Friday, scoring his second straight 67 for 6 to 134 over the weekend. He finished his round with a one-shot advantage. He assembled a cleaner round (one scarecrow) on Friday in more challenging conditions with stronger winds earlier in the day as the cold front approached.
“Although I played well yesterday, today I played very, very well,” Thomas said after his Friday tour. “I stayed very patient, tried to get into my little world and get into the zone and just tried to execute every shot as best I could.”
Thomas was fiercely honest when he was asked at the Masters last month if he thought he was failing in the main event with one win and five finishes in the top 10 in 25 starts.
“I know that’s true,” he said.
And a week of another specialty, the topic was raised again. But this time Thomas was able to look a little more at his accomplishments.
“I’m just trying to be patient and realize that a lot of great players with incredible careers like Hall of Fame, a few major winners, haven’t won any until they’re 30 or 35,” said Thomas, who is 11 months old. . to his 30th birthday. “You never know, I can win one, two, three, four majors a year. I just need to be patient and hope that it will happen sooner rather than later. “
Thomas is definitely capable of collecting championship cups and trophies, pitchers and green jackets. He has at least one tour title each of the last six seasons and has won five times in 2016-17, the year he won the Wanamaker Trophy, the FedEx Cup and was the PGA Tour’s best player of the year – and planted the root of those heightened expectations.
The following season, he came out on top for the first time in the world rankings. He is now number 9.
Thomas climbed the list of leaders on Friday on the strength of his irons. He was fourth in the traits scored approaching the green, after his round. He scored 16 greens. The one that defined his day was the 6-Iron on № 5, which he landed from a height of 219 yards. He then finished it by rolling in a 23-foot kick for one of his four birds.
His only flaw appeared on par-3 № 14 when he put his tee in the hopper. Two of Thomas ’scarecrows in the first two rounds were in pair 3.
Thomas ’confidence is high: seven top 10 in 12 competitions this season, including eighth place at the Masters. For 23 starts it is equal to his 10th last season. And at least he seems to be heading into another top 10 in the specialty.
Of course, that would not be enough.
“I feel like I’m playing well (but we’re already halfway there, so it’s still a long way to home,” Thomas said. “But I am very, very happy with where everything is, and the mood and state of mind in which I am.
“You just have to try to keep it as good as possible and keep trying to play good golf.”
Tom D’Angelo is a journalist Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.