October 8 2013
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- Justin Thomas was college golf's player of the year in 2012, winning the award over a name now familiar to golf fans. Jordan Spieth finished second to Thomas in that season's college rankings. Spieth played The Presidents Cup last week after a PGA TOUR season that included a victory at the John Deere Classic and berth in the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Thomas played a q-school practice round last week. He's making his PGA TOUR debut as a professional at this week's Frys.com Open after being given a sponsor exemption. Like Spieth before the 2013 season, Thomas has no status on any tour.
"It's been unbelievable watching him," Thomas, 20, said about Spieth. "It gives people like me a lot of confidence going into the year. But I'm not trying to have too many expectations. I just want to come into all my events and just play the best that I can."
Thomas' Walker Cup teammate, Max Homa, also is playing his first PGA TOUR event as a professional this week. Homa won this year's NCAA individual title while playing for Cal, just a couple hours north of this week's site, CordeValle Resort.
Thomas turned pro last month after helping the United States win the Walker Cup; he played two seasons at Alabama, helping the Crimson Tide to this year's NCAA Championship and setting the school's individual victories record. He made his pro debut at the European Tour's Dunhill Links Championship, missing the cut after rounds of 66-73-71.
Thomas played in four PGA TOUR events as an amateur, making the cut three times. He was the third-youngest player to make a PGA TOUR cut when he did so at the 2009 Wyndham Championship. His best finish was T-30 at this year's Travelers Championship.
He will play the first stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament next week in Texas. Thomas also said he will play The McGladrey Classic on Nov. 4-10 in St. Simons Island, Ga. That tournament will be held on Sea Island Resort's Seaside Course, where Thomas won the 2012 SEC Championship at that course, while Alabama won both the 2012 and 2013 conference championships with Thomas in the lineup.