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.”