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January 16 2012

2:40 AM

Thompson surprised by top 10

By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM

HONOLULU -- Michael Thompson came to the Sony Open in Hawaii with few expectations.

His practice time prior to leaving for Hawaii had been curtailed -- first because of an illness, then because of unusually cold weather in his hometown of Birmingham.

Even when he got here, he didn't feel comfortable with the practice range at Waialae.

"I really just wanted to play and get the rust off my game," he said.

He did more than that. After posting even-par 70 on the first day, the former University of Alabama star found his rhythm on the second day, shooting a 65 and then shot 68-67 on the weekend to give him a top-10 finish at 10 under for the third time since joining the PGA TOUR last year.

"Anytime you reach double digits under par out here on the PGA TOUR, something to be said for that," Thompson said. "Going to ride the wave, keep on going and see what happens."

Thompson made four putts outside 10 feet on Sunday, including a 42-footer for birdie at the 11th hole and a 34-footer at the 13th hole. For the day, he made 142 feet of putts, second most behind John Rollins' 144 feet.

"I made two putts over 35 feet and that's really rare to happen on these greens," he said. "And you know, it's just special. It's fun to watch that ball disappear."

Thompson ever so briefly held a share of the lead. He was 11 under with two holes to play but bogeyed the par-3 17th when his tee shot got caught in the wind and bounced into the bunker. He failed to birdie the par-5 18th after his 10-foot putt took the grain and pulled away from the hole at the last roll.

Still, it was a good start to the season for the second-year man.

"It was great being in the hunt," he said. "My goal this year is to put myself in contention as many times as I can. To do it on the first tournament is a little out of the ordinary for me." 

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