Justin Thomas Has Big Weekend at US Open

Justin Thomas, a 2011 St. X graduate, opened the 2017 US Open with a modest 73, placing him nowhere near the top of the leaderboard heading into Friday. But that did not deter his confidence. On Friday, he gained some more attention with a very impressive 3-under par score of 69. JT sat tied for 24th place at -2 heading into Saturday. Little did the spectators at Erin Hills know, Thomas was on the brink of making history.

Justin came out red-hot on Saturday afternoon, knocking in six birdies on the front nine, including one off of a wild circus putt on the fifth hole. He was just as impressive on the back nine, going 4-under. This historic round was emphatically punctuated on the last hole; after nailing his 3-wood roughly 330 yards off the tee, Thomas boldly reached for the same club on his second shot. He contemplated laying up with his 2-iron before deciding to go for the pin. With little room for error, Justin rifled his approach shot about 310 yards, sticking it 8 feet from the pin. He then knocked in the eagle putt, completing a 9-under par round––the best score in US Open history.

JT’s incredible -9 score dethroned Johnny Miller, whose -8 score at the 1973 US Open was unparalleled for more than 40 years. Thomas even held the lead solely for some time before Saturday ended. His -11 overall score was enough to place him in the final Sunday group with leader Brian Harman (-12 at the time). Unfortunately, JT ran out of steam on Sunday. His 3-over par round featured four bogies and only one birdie. But Sunday does not do justice to Thomas’ greatness.

At -8, Thomas finished tied for ninth, his first ever top ten finish at a Major. He also pocketed an eye-popping $291,795. It may have taken a record-breaking round in a Major Tournament for the world to finally notice Justin Thomas, but he has been on the rise all year. He won back-to-back tournaments in January (the SBS Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open). At the Sony Open, he became the youngest player to ever shoot 59 or lower. At the same tournament, Thomas broke the PGA record for lowest total score by shooting 253 for the entire weekend. His 22nd place finish at The Masters was also a great success. Don’t be surprised if Thomas continues to build upon his already-strong year.

As JT continues to climb in the Official World Golf Rankings (he is currently #12), he is also building his resume as the best golfer to come out of Saint X. Frank Beard, class of 1957, and Bobby Nichols, 1954, are Justin’s top competitors for that title. Beard won 11 PGA Tour events and had 9 top-ten finishes at Majors. Nichols boasts 15 PGA wins and 9 top-ten Major finishes. Bobby is most famous for edging out Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus to win the 1964 PGA Championship. While JT is not quite on their level, he is well on his way. In the next few years, it is very possible that Thomas may join Nichols as the only Tiger Tech alums to win majors. Justin Thomas has been on a perpetual tear this year, and it does not look like he will be slowing down any time soon.

 

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Posted on June 18, 2017, in Former Tigers, WSTX Sports. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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