June 22 2013
Justin Thomas shot 66 for the second straight day at TPC River Highlands. (Martin/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- When amateur Justin Thomas arrived at TPC River Highlands his philosophy was simple: Make as many birdies as possible.
Given the venue, it was a good game plan.
So far, Thomas has acquitted himself well in that department.
The Alabama sophomore made seven of them on Saturday, including five in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, to shoot 66 and enter the final round 6 under for the week and on the fringe of contention at the Travelers Championship.
That Thomas has fared well so far shouldn't come as a surprise.
For one, he was a key member of the Crimson Tide's national championship team.
For another, TPC River Highlands is a friendly venue for those just getting their feet wet on the PGA TOUR. Two years ago, Patrick Cantlay tied the course record here with a 60 when he was still anamateur.
"There's not many hidden things here," Thomas said. "It's not a place you need to play 15 times to figure out."
While Thomas has yet to figure out exactly when he'll turn pro -- reports have indicated he might do so this fall -- he does know there are areas of his game that need improving.
What's the biggest thing Thomas, who has made the cut in all three starts he's had on the TOUR since 2009, has learned in his appearances?
"I'm motivated to work on my short game," he said. "These guys are so good, they'll make you look so dumb so fast."
No matter the outcome, Thomas has looked good so far.
As for his upcoming schedule, he'll take the next two weeks off before playing at the John Deere Classic. He'll play in the Southern Amateur two weeks after that, take a week off, play the Western Amateur and then the U.S. Amateur.