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Justin Thomas zeroes in on big finish to the season

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Justin Thomas zeroes in on big finish to the season

    Justin Thomas on social media before WGC-FedEx St. Jude

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Former FedExCup champion Justin Thomas has harnessed the positives of his winless season thus far in an effort to springboard his quest for a second season-long trophy.

    Thomas, the 2017 FedExCup champion, sits 17th in the points race this year despite failing to register a win. Only Tony Finau (13th) sits higher in terms of winless players.

    But Finau has been healthy and played 21 times while Thomas sat out a chunk of the season, including the PGA Championship, with a wrist injury and has made just 16 starts.

    Having won nine times in the three seasons prior to this one Thomas could have easily slipped into negative thinking around this trophy-free campaign thus far. But the 26-year-old feels his moment could be yet to come as he lines up to defend the last title he did win – the World Golf Championships – FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

    Of course that win came at Firestone South in Akron while this year he finds himself at TPC Southwind in Memphis for the first time.

    He comes with form having finished tied for ninth at the Scottish Open and then tied for 11th at The Open Championship over the last two weeks.

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    “Every event's very important over the course of the entire year, but it definitely is now because you're running out (of time) … I really feel like I'm trending in the right direction,” Thomas said from TPC Southwind.

    “Had two really positive weeks at the Scottish and then The Open last week. Felt like easily could have gotten a couple top-5s out of those two weeks … I feel like I'm very, very close to winning again.

    “I've been saying that all year, but got my putter, I feel like, kind of back, a lot closer to where I would like it.”

    Indeed the putter has been his downfall this season with Thomas ranked 170th on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting. He’s offset that by being third on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green and second in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.

    The mental dilemma for Thomas has been his drive is all about winning. So finding the positives this season takes a bit of effort on occasion.

    “I don't play golf for money, I don't play golf for anything other than trying to win, and that's all I'm trying to do,” he said.

    “But I’m 17th (in the FedExCup) while missing a major and two events that I feel like I had a really, really good chance to win. So no, it's been very far from a failure of a season or a bad season.

    “I definitely feel like I could have and should have played a lot better and won a couple times, but it's golf. There's only one winner every week and I understand that, that you need to have some things go your way when you win and I just haven't had that happen.

    “But I still have a lot of positives to show from this year and we have four or five really big events left in the season on golf courses that I feel like can suit my game if I'm playing well. We could have another great end of the season.”

    Given the cross Atlantic trip and change in time zones Thomas said he’d likely rest more than grind on the course in the lead up, despite having no history at TPC Southwind. He was thankful the mercury wasn’t pushing triple digits like it has a tendency to do in this part of the world.

    “If you gave me the option of playing a golf course that I love and my body didn't feel good and I was tired and I was jet lagged versus a course I've never seen in my entire life but I was rested, I was ready to go, I'll take being rested and ready to go,” Thomas said

    “Trying to get rested and get my energy back is going to be most important for me.”

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