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Justin Thomas to tee of at the 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open

Justin Thomas | GolfWeek.com

Justin Thomas | GolfWeek.com

Justin Thomas is making his first start in two weeks since he swept Hawaii after he won the SBS Tournament of Champions at Kapalua by three strokes and the Sony Open by seven. In the Sony Open, he forced his way into the sub 60 club, shooting a 59 in the opening round, and then went on to post the PGA Tour 72 hole low record (-27). Before that, he defended his 2015 title in the CIMB Classic in Malaysia in November by winning the tournament again by three strokes over Hideki Matsuyama.

To make a long story short: Thomas has been far and away the best player on the planet this season.

After cashing out in Hawaii, Thomas leads the FedEx Cup Standings and has risen to No. 8 in the Official World Golf Rankings, and he looks to continue his dominance when he tees off at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.

The 23-year-old and 2011 St.X graduate will make his third start in the event. Last year, Thomas missed the cut, however, he finished T-17th in 2015. The expectations will be much higher this year, and many fans, especially Tiger Nation, will be tracking his every move.

Thomas will be paired with Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin in Round 1 and they will tee off tomorrow  at 3:07 P.M. Other golfers to watch at the event will be Hideki Matsuyama, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Folwer, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, and Farmers Insurance winner Jon Rahm.

You can follow Thomas’ progress on the Golf Channel, and I’ll try to give as many updates as I can on Twitter.

Good Luck to our man JT!

Justin Thomas’ Journey to the Masters

Justin Thomas | Photo by Darren Carroll

Justin Thomas | Photo by Darren Carroll

When the first round of the 2016 Masters begins on Thursday, Justin Thomas will be one of many newcomers that will walk down the fairways of Augusta National in what many call a tradition unlike any other. For Thomas, the journey to Augusta started 16 years before he won the CIMB Classic that earned him his invitation to this year’s Masters. In his hometown, Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas watched from the stands as one of the greats won his fourth Major in a row.

The roar from 18 was heard all around Valhalla Golf Club and was heard by millions across the nation. Tiger Woods had just knocked in a par putt to defeat Bob May in the 2000 PGA Championship. While Tiger Woods was raising the Wanamaker Trophy above his head, a seven year-old Justin Thomas realized playing Golf is something he wanted to do for a living.

“The first true memory I had of wanting to play for a living was after watching the PGA Championship at Valhalla,” Thomas said. “Being there and watching Tiger win got me motivated to want to play on that same stage.”

Thomas isn’t looking to win his fourth straight major this weekend, but he is looking to make his first trip to the Masters a memorable one.  His journey to the Masters didn’t start when he turned pro, but it has been something Thomas has been working towards since he started playing golf at Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky.

Just like golf was the perfect sport for Thomas, St. X was the perfect school for him. Thomas didn’t consider any other schools before deciding to go to St. X because it was “Tiger Tech all the way” for Thomas.

A very young JT | Photo by AJGA

A very young JT | Photo by AJGA

St. X is expected to win tournaments and championships. During Thomas’ four year career, St. X brought home two state championships, and Thomas won one individual title. At State, Thomas finished tied for 13th his freshman year, 3rd his sophomore year, 1st his junior year and tied for 3rd his senior year with St. X winning the team title his sophomore and junior years.

“The brotherhood we had on the team and the state championships we won were amazing,” Thomas said. “Those memories and trips with guys won’t be forgotten.”

Thomas graduated from St. X in the spring of 2011 and took his talents to the University of Alabama. Thomas wasn’t intimidated by the college game at all. In his first year at Tuscaloosa, Thomas won National Freshman of the Year and National Player of the Year. He became the first Crimson Tide player to win his first career event and won the 2012 SEC Championship and the NCAA Athens Regional.

In his sophomore year, Thomas and Alabama routed Illinois 4-1 in the 2013 National Championship and won the first golf national championship in Alabama history.

“We had a close team that got along well, and I felt like we did a lot of stuff together,” Thomas said. “That was cool to me because I felt a lot of other teams never spent time together and weren’t bonded like we were.”

After the national championship his sophomore year, Thomas had to make one of the more difficult decisions of his life. He had the option to bypass his last two years of college and become a professional. Thomas decided turning pro was the right choice for him.

“It was a very difficult decision,” Thomas said. “At the same time, I knew it was the right decision and needed to be done at the time I did it. I loved the guys on the team and the coaches and that made it harder, but I knew I made the right choice.”

Thomas joined the Web.com Tour, and in his 20 events played on the tour, he placed in the top 10 seven times and won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. After one season on the Web.com Tour, Thomas earned his PGA Tour card after placing fifth on the Web.com’s earning list.

Thomas was a threat almost every weekend, but he had some difficulty in finishing the win. Thomas had chances at the John Deere Classic, Quicken Loans National and the Frys.com Open to get his first PGA Tour win, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“It bothered me and motivated me,” Thomas said. “I always have wanted to win at every level I’m playing at. I felt I could have. I should have won a few of those events but I knew at the same time, it just wasn’t my time yet. I tried to stay patient.”

His patience paid off on November 1, 2015 when Thomas won the CIMB Classic at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club in Bukit Kiara, Malaysia.

“That was a huge confidence boost,” Thomas said. “I knew I hit the shots and made the putts down the stretch when I needed to. It is going to do nothing but give me so much confidence down the road when I’m in similar situations.”

Because of his win at the CIMB Classic, Thomas earned his invitation to the 2016 Masters. Augusta National is one of the best looking golf courses in the nation, and Thursday’s round will be Thomas’ first round at the Masters and his first round at any major besides the U.S. Open.

What is Thomas looking forward to most at Augusta?

“The opportunity to hopefully be walking up 18 with a chance to win,” Thomas said.

The road to that potential walk for Thomas will start at 9:59 am on Thursday. Thomas is paired up with another first time Masters golfer in Emiliano Grillo and Dustin Johnson, who finished in a tie for 5th at last year’s Masters.

The Masters presents an opportunity for Thomas to step into the national spotlight. Much of the nation knows him by “Jordan Spieth’s Good Buddy”, but will that be different after this weekend? Can he become the first winner in his first appearance since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979? I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Golf, and the PGA, link three generations of Justin Thomas’ family

Justin Thomas | Photo from GoPro.com

Justin Thomas | Photo from GoPro.com

Former Tiger Justin Thomas is a great golfer, and the national media is paying more and more attention to Thomas and his success on the links. Thomas is currently ranked 37th in the world and 5th on the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup points race. Wednesday, PGA.com wrote a piece on Thomas and how he grew up in a golf family.

With the PGA of America kicking off the celebration of its Centennial year at the PGA Merchandise Show, a lot of the talk this week is of the men, women and families that have lived the game down through the years.
Among the more prominent golf clans at the Show is the Thomas family of Kentucky. Longtime PGA Professional Paul Thomas, now 84, is back home this week, but his son Mike, the head professional at Harmony Landing Golf Club in Goshen, Kentucky, and Mike’s 22-year-old son Justin were on hand Wednesday morning to take part in Titleist’s kickoff program.
Another update on Thomas real quick. Justin Thomas is now the first PGA Tour Player that has signed with GoPro.
“As an avid social media user I have always been a fan of GoPro content and can’t wait to capture and share moments of my life with my social following through a GoPro lens,” Justin says. “As a Tour player we get to travel the world and see and do some amazing things. Not only will I be capturing my own photos and videos, I will also be collaborating with the team at GoPro to create some new and unique golf content.”

Justin Thomas finishes tied for 16th at -5 at The Barclays

Justin Thomas | Photo by Darren Carroll

Justin Thomas | Photo by Darren Carroll

Former Tiger Justin Thomas finished tied for 16th at -5 at The Barclays this weekend in the opening round of the FedExCup Playoffs. Thomas shot a fourth round 3-under par on Sunday.

Thomas earned 214 FedEx points for finishing tied for 16th which puts him in 30th in the FedExCup rankings going into the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston next weekend where the top 100 golfers in the world will square off.

Here is an explanation of the playoffs from PGAtour.com:

The Playoffs feature a progressive cut, beginning with The Barclays in the New York/New Jersey area (125 players), continuing with the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston (100 players) and the BMW Championship in Chicago (70 players). A reset takes place, seeding the top-30 players for the culminating TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in Atlanta, where the FedExCup Champion is crowned.

Anyone up for a road trip to Boston?

Go Tigers!

Justin Tracker: Following Justin Thomas at The Greenbrier Classic

Photo by Darren Carroll

Justin Thomas put himself in contention on the final day with great play in the first three rounds. | Photo by Darren Carroll

Justin Thomas is competing in this week’s Greenbrier Classic in White Suplhur Springs, WV. The Former Tiger hit a hole in one on Thursday and has stayed near the top of the leaderboard since.

For the final round of the tournament, we will give you hole by hole updates on how Justin is doing out on the links. A top 12 finish will get him a trip to St. Andrews for The Open, but let’s go get this win, JT! The first one starts the dominoes for many more to come.

1 (Par 4) – Birdie, moves to -11 and tied for the lead.

Greenbrier Leaderboard

2 (Par 4) – Par
3 (Par 3) – Par
4 (Par4) – Birdie, Bryce Molder and Russell Henley birdie also and share the lead with Justin at -12. Henley is in the clubhouse now.
5 (Par 4) – Par, missed a 13 ft. birdie attempt just by a couple of inches and taps in to stay at -12 and tied for the lead.
6 (Par 4) – Par, CBS Final Round Live Coverage has begun on TV with Jim Nantz on the call.
7 (Par 4) – Par
8 (Par 3) – Birdie, Justin now has the outright lead at -13.
9 (Par 4) – Bogey, drops to tied for the lead at -12. That was Justin’s first bogey in a 29 hole stretch.
10 (Par 4) – Double Bogey, drops to -10 and two back from leaders Henley and Kisner.
11 (Par 4) – Par
12 (Par 5) – Par, Justin misses birdie attempt and sits three back from leaders now.
13 (Par 4) – Bogey, Falls to to -9 and 4 back from lead.
14 (Par 4) – Par
15 (Par 3) – Par
16 (Par 4) – Quadruple Bogey, Justin falls to -5 and 9 back from lead.
17 (Par 5) – Par
18 (Par 3) – Par

For more #JustinTracker news, follow @WSTXSports and @PGATour on Twitter.

Justin Thomas Hits a Hole In One!

Justin Thomas Hole in One

Our guy Justin Thomas made some new friends at The Greenbrier Classic today after he hit an ace on Hole 18, which resulted in the spectators at that hole winning $500 a piece! The prize was paid out by The Greenbrier’s owner, Jim Justice, to each crowd member.

Justin’s hole in one was the second of the day and that means the next one will result in the crowd getting $1,000… how far away is The Greenbrier again?? This might be the worst idea for a promotion since Jackie Moon and the Flint Tropics said they would give away free corn dogs if they scored 125 points.

Take a look at the big time hit from the Former Tiger before he made the turn to the back nine in his first round in West Virginia. Thomas is T27 at -3 after one day of play. He sits just five strokes off the leader, Scott Langley.

Former Tiger Justin Thomas paired with Jordan Spieth at AT&T Byron Nelson

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas met at a junior event when they were 14-year-olds. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas met at a junior event when they were 14-year-olds. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

Former Tiger Justin Thomas is playing in the AT&T Byron Nelson this weekend, and he happens to know the person he is paired with rather well. Thomas is paired with good friend and Masters Champion Jordan Spieth. Thomas and Spieth are also paired with another young star, Brooks Koepka.

Mike McAllister of PGATour.com went into more detail on the two being paired together for the first time in their professional careers.

Thomas is one of just 18 players this season averaging better than 300 yards in driving distance, so he certainly has the length to deal with the 7,166-yard layout.

Plus, he’s been knocking on the door during his rookie season, with five top-10 finishes. Considering that in the last five years, four of the AT&T Byron Nelson champs were first-time TOUR winners, projecting a Thomas win doesn’t seem like a stretch.

Oh, and if it means anything, Thomas shot 9 under during Wednesday’s pro-am.

Thomas said he would give himself a “B, B-minus” this year, but that grade would certainly go up with a victory.

“I feel like I’ve played well and done some great things,” Thomas said, “but there’s still some good areas for improvement. I feel like my results could get better.”

Perhaps some of Spieth’s magic this season will rub off on his good friend.

Read more about the pairing here. Also check out Thomas’ interview and highlights so far at the AT&T Byron Nelson by clicking the picture below or going to this link here.

Justin Thomas talks at AT&T Byron Nelson

[PGATOUR.com]

Justin Thomas finishes T-7 at the Wells Fargo Championship

Justin Thomas watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship. Photo by Bob Leverone | The Associated Press

Justin Thomas watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship. Photo by Bob Leverone | The Associated Press

Justin Thomas did Justin Thomas things this weekend, as he finished tied for 7th at the Wells Fargo Championship. He shot a 2-under par in his final round to finish at -11 for the tournament.

He had another great “Moving Day” this weekend, as he shot a 65 on Saturday. His 3rd round was headlined by two eagles on holes 5 and 7.

He didn’t use up all of his eagles on Saturday though. He putted in another eagle yesterday. The PGA Tour twitter account tweeted out the awesome shot.

 

WSTX Sports’ The Players Championship LIVE DIARY

THE PLAYERS LIVE DIARY

Good morning, WSTX Sports readers and Tiger Golf fans and welcome to The Players Championship LIVE DIARY on WSTXSports.com.  This will be a running diary of this weekend’s Players Championship PGA Tour Event featuring our own Justin Thomas in Jacksonville, FL.

It has been a while since we have done one of these so let’s remind you of how this works!  We will take you through the day with commentary of the scene with updates coming as often as possible. Refresh the page throughout the day to follow along.  Tweet us questions at @WSTXSports or have fun and be a part of the conversation in the comment section below! Go Tigers!

Thursday

(7:36 AM) Justin Thomas will be teeing off momentarily from TPC Sawgrass from Hole 10 with his partners for the first two rounds, Daniel Summerhays and Michael Putnam. Good luck, Justin!

(12:00 PM) Thomas is +1 thru 16* at The Players. He had only one bogey on 11, which is the only hole he didn’t shoot par. He sits at T42 at the moment, but only 6 strokes off the lead. The next hole for Thomas is the toughest in golf. The island at TPC Sawgrass is known for being one of the most difficult in the game. Let’s hope he lives up to the stamp he and Jordan Spieth got on their wedges. Non Splash Brothers.

Justin Thomas and Jordan Speith

(5:40 PM) Justin finished at +1 for the First Round of The Players at TPC Sawgrass. That’s good for T81, but still only 6 strokes off the lead. Plenty of golf is still to be played and slots are there to be moved up on the leaderboard. Tomorrow afternoon, Thomas will tee off at 12:46 PM in the Second Round. We’ll be back with more updates tomorrow! For now, Go St. X… Beat The Weeds!

Friday

(12:13 PM) This morning, before Justin tees off in the second round of The Players, he took to Twitter to congratulate Tiger Golf’s Allen Hamilton on his commitment to Kentucky.  Very cool to see the pro giving props to the rising senior.  Hamilton will join Thomas as a Former Tiger that has gone on to play in the SEC when his time at St. X is finished.

The projected cut is looking to be at E for the tournament with so many golfers in the red after the first round. Justin will have to put together a nice outing today to continue on to tomorrow. We know he’s more than capable of coming through with a big day. Now that he’s felt out the course a little bit, it’s time for him to make a move. You can watch the second round of The Players live on Golf Channel from 1:00-7:00 PM today.

Jordan Spieth, right, explains the break on the 15th green to Justin Thomas during a practice round Wednesday at The Players Championship | AP photo

Jordan Spieth, right, explains the break on the 15th green to Justin Thomas during a practice round Wednesday at The Players Championship | AP photo

(6:24 PM) Justin Thomas is in the clubhouse after he had a great second round, shooting a 70 to bring him to -1 overall for the tournament.  The projected cut is E like we said this morning, so Justin looks to have played him into the weekend at The Players. Congratulations to the Former Tiger! It’s almost not even a big deal to see him making the cut on the tour. Still a great accomplishment and especially this weekend in a tournament such as The Players.

Saturday

(11:53 PM) So this just happened. Justin Thomas hit his tee shot on the 8th straight into a fans’ cup holder. Hole in one?

Justin Thomas Hole in Cup

(8:00 PM) The Tiger Sports world had an unbelievable day as Tennis clinched a spot in the state semifinals, Rugby crushed their opponent and Volleyball went 3-1, but the most impressive performance had to have came from Former Tiger Justin Thomas. Thomas posted an incredible 65 in the third round of The Players. For the first time in the history of TPC Sawgrass, a 10 birdie day was posted… yep, by Justin!  Over 14,000 rounds have been played at one of the toughest courses in the country and the 22 year old rookie was the first to accomplish that feat.

Justin Thomas

Thomas moves to -8 overall in the tournament, which puts him tied for 5th. At one point before the leaders teed off, he was tied for the lead. Golf experts call Saturday, moving day and Justin certainly moved in the right direction. If he can duplicate today’s performance or even come close to it, he’ll have a chance to bring home his first PGA Tour win.

Sunday

Justin Thomas TPC Sawgrass

(10:52 PM) Good morning and Happy Mother’s Day to Tiger Nation! Justin Thomas has been paired with Sergio Garcia for the Final Round of The Players today and they will tee off at 2:15 PM from TPC Sawgrass. Thomas is two shots off the lead entering the last day and has a legitimate shot to bring home the hardware (and huge check) later on today! Good luck Justin!

Justin Thomas Mothers Day

(2:47 PM) Justin Thomas just birdied the second hole and is now one shot off the lead. The Golf Channel analysts broke down who stood out on the leaderboard heading into the final round. Click on the picture below to listen in on what they had to say about our own Justin Thomas.

Golf Channel Analysts Justin Thomas

(2:54 PM) Thomas bogeys the third hole to move back to -8 and two shots off the lead at The Players. Ben Martin and Chris Kirk are tied at -10 for the lead at the moment. Justin heads to the fourth at TPC Sawgrass.

Justin Thomas headed back to Jacksonville

A very young JT | Photo by AJGA

A very young JT | Photo by AJGA

Five years after playing in a AJGA event in Jacksonville at TPC Sawgrass, Justin Thomas will return to participate in the 2015 Players Championship. Note: the picture above is when Justin was 13, not 5 years ago, but he still was a youngin last time he played this course and a St. X student still.

The Players Championship is one of the biggest golf events of the year and will feature all the big time players like Tiger, Phil and Rory and of course our own Justin Thomas. The tournament will get underway on Thursday and we will keep you updated on how the Former Tiger fairs down in Jacksonville all weekend long.

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth reunited at US Open

Justin Thomas (Left) and Jordan Spieth at a tournament in 2007. | Photo via Facebook.com

Justin Thomas (Left) and Jordan Spieth at a tournament in 2007. | Photo via Facebook.com

Former Tiger Justin Thomas is in his first major, and he has been getting a ton of attention from national media. The latest media outlet to take a look at Thomas was Fox Sports. They dive into Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth’s friendship along with Justin Thomas’ relationship with Spieth’s caddie.

Thomas and Spieth have known each other since 2007, when they battled all summer on the junior circuit and were selected to represent the United States in the Evian Junior Masters in France. Thomas won the 36-hole event, and his reward was to play the Evian Masters pro-am with Juli Inkster. Spieth caddied for him.

They have been close friends ever since, and the needle in their playful banter is sharp.

[Fox Sports – US Open a reunion for Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and caddie]

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth defeat Mickelson and Fowler on Tuesday’s practice round

From left, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler during Tuesday's practice round for the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

From left, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler during Tuesday’s practice round for the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. | Photo by Getty Images

Former Tiger Justin Thomas qualified for the US Open for the first time in his career, and his week got a little better on Tuesday at the practice round. Thomas and his partner Jordan Spieth defeated Mickelson, one of the favorites to win the US Open, and Fowler by 1 in a friendly match.

While playing on a sponsor invite at the Memorial, Thomas asked Mickelson about playing a practice round in the near future. Mickelson replied that he would reserve a spot for him in his Tuesday game if Thomas qualified for the U.S. Open. Thomas qualified for the US Open by tying for medalist honors at the Columbus, Ohio, sectional qualifier and texted Michelson after. Mickelson replied, “Bring a partner.”

Thomas had an easy choice of a partner, as he picked his long time friend in Jordan Spieth. They have known each other since they were 14 when they met at the 2008 Evian Masters Junior Cup.

Mickelson usually plays with the likes of Keegan Bradley and Dustin Johnson during his practice rounds, but Mickelson doesn’t mind playing with young guys. “What it does for me is it allows me to see what’s coming up, and it pushes me to work harder,” Mickelson said.

It was all tied up when they walked up to the 17th. Spieth helped the duo take the lead over the veterans with a 20-footer for birdie. “It was left-to-right about a foot and straightened out at the end,” Spieth said. “My partner was already in with par so I just had to hit it hard enough.” When Mickelson’s birdie chip at 18 checked well short of the hole, it was all over. Youth had prevailed 1 up, or as Thomas proclaimed it, “Young guns, 1-0.”

Thomas Qualifies for ’14 U.S. Open

Justin Thomas takes a swing at The Memorial last weekend | Photo by Getty Images

Justin Thomas takes a swing at The Memorial last weekend | Photo by Getty Images

Former Tiger Justin Thomas has qualified for the 2014 U.S. Open. This will be Thomas’ first major tournament when he hits the links at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club from June 12-15.

As an amateur, Thomas missed the field a year ago by one shot after finishing his round with a pair of bogeys. This year, he ended with a par to stay at 5-under in the Columbus, Ohio, qualifier.

“It’s cool to finish in the same spot and do that,” Thomas told The Associated Press. “I played so well last year and those last two holes were the difference. This’ll be my first major, and I’m looking forward to a great experience.”

16 competitors from Thomas’ qualifier made the cut, but the competitions were staged all across the country in what’s known as the “longest day in golf.”

Thomas, now a full-time player on the developmental Web.com Tour, is seventh through nine events played in earnings with $162,798. He’s finished as high as second in the El Bosque Mexico Championship in April and missed just one cut.

Justin Thomas visits The White House

Justin Thomas (5th from the Right) and his Alabama Teammates at the nation's capital | Photo from GolfWeek.com

Justin Thomas (5th from the Left) and his Alabama Teammates at the nation’s capital | Photo from GolfWeek.com

Upon returning from his outing in the Web.com Tour’s Chile Classic, Former Tiger Justin Thomas joined his teammates from his collegiate golf days in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., to celebrate their team’s NCAA National Championship they won last year.

“My passport is getting pretty stamped up,” said Thomas, who was in Colombia for the Web.com Tour opener three weeks ago and is headed to Panama on Sunday.

But the whirlwind day was well worth it for Thomas, who turned pro last spring after his sophomore year. With his teammates from the 2012-13 season, he reunited in the nation’s capital for a visit to the White House to celebrate the school’s first national championship in men’s golf.

Of course, Alabama also had an in with Obama. The 44th president, like many of his Oval Office predecessors, enjoys hitting the links. He told the team that he had played a few holes last weekend – and that he needs some help out of the sand. The players suggested to him that he should start “grinding on that with coach (Jay Seawell).”

“I was just sitting there thinking, ‘With all of those teams there, there’s only one men’s golf program. And that’s us, because we were the best team in college golf last year,’ ” Thomas said. “I am getting goosebumps talking about it now.

“He had a bigger connection with us because he plays our sport; he seemed pretty excited to come in and meet us.”

Always great to have a St. Xavier grad in The White House! Very cool opportunity for one of our own!

[Thomas joins Tide teammates at White House]