By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Nicholas Thompson didn't exactly have a lot of momentum after shooting rounds of 78 and 73 at Muirfield Village last week to miss his sixth straight cut.
The former Georgia Tech standout found some on Monday, though, as he finished second in the 36-hole qualifier for the U.S. Open -- and it carried over into Thursday's first round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Thompson bounced back from an early four-putt double bogey to fire a 67 that left him one shot off the lead held by Nathan Green. It was his just his third round in the 60s in his last 36 on TOUR dating back to The Honda Classic.
"I've been really close, just not quite there," said Thompson, adding that most of his early exits came from a deficit of one or two shots. "I even had a couple driver problems -- then once I got my driver back, my short game failed a little bit but I feel really good. I mean, played well on Monday, qualified for the Open. I feel like I played well last week. Every shot was a little bit off."
Thursday was a different story, though. Thompson said he putted for birdie or better on every hole -- although some of those were from the fringe.
"I hit a lot of good quality golf shots today," Thompson said. "I drove it pretty good. My stats didn't say it because they kept bouncing out of the fairway. Hit a lot of good tee shots and lot of good really iron shots in. Hit a lot of good putts. Some went in, some didn't. But I was all over the hole -- even my four-putt."
Actually, that gaffe Thompson called a "blip" was only a three-putt since his first struck from the fringe. It came at the par-5 third after he had opened with a 24-footer for birdie at No. 1. His third shot left him 37 feet from the pin and he putted to 18 feet, then he officially three-putted from there.
Thompson bounced back well, though, with birdies on three of his next six holes to make the turn in 33. Thompson added one more birdie on the back nine at the par-5 16th hole to finish off the round of 3 under.
"I didn't feel like any of the putts were that bad," he said. "It happens. I mean I hit a lot of good shots and putts that didn't quite go in, either. But, I mean all in all, I'm happy with 67. Good start to the week."