Thomas reminds he hasn’t gone away at BMW ChampionshipHasn’t won this season after racking up eight victories in 2017—18
August 15, 2019
By Cameron Morfit , PGATOUR.COM
Justin Thomas' lengthy birdie putt from the fringe at BMW Championship
MEDINAH, Ill. – Justin Thomas had what he called the worst warm-up of his life, then shot 65 – with a tidy 24 putts – to tie the course record at Medinah and take the early first-round lead at the BMW Championship.
Given that Thomas calls this a “weird” and “odd” season, maybe that’s fitting.
“I couldn’t hit the ball,” the 2017 FedExCup champion and Player of the Year said of his pre-round warm-up. “I had no idea what I was doing.”
Thomas hit nine of 14 fairways and 12 greens in regulation, but was a perfect six-for-six in scrambling. His last hole was emblematic of his day, as his third shot from the greenside bunker clanked off the flagstick and left him a par putt of just over four feet, which he made.
If he remains atop the leaderboard, Thomas is projected to jump to No. 1 in the FedExCup.
If it seems like you haven’t heard much from Thomas lately, that’s because you haven’t. He has played well, coming in at 15th in the FedExCup. He just hasn’t won. Fair or not, that’s a glaring omission for a guy who won eight times in 2017 and ’18.
The difference this season? A wrist injury that sidelined him for part of April and all of May.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s been an odd season just because I’ve missed three tournaments,” Thomas said. “But the difference with this season is and any other season is I’d won. I’m playing every bit as good as I have any other year, that’s for sure.”
Thomas racked up top-10 finishes in five of his first seven starts this season, but appeared to hurt his wrist hitting a tree at The Honda Classic, where he finished T30. More lackluster results followed before he shut it down after finishing T12 at the Masters Tournament. His right wrist, where at times he’s worn a brace, needed a break.
After missing the PGA Championship and two other starts, he returned to the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, but missed the cut. He also missed the cut at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach but began to climb back at The Open Championship (T11), the World Golf Championships – FedEx St. Jude Invitational (T12) and THE NORTHERN TRUST (T12).
He appeared to be as sharp as ever Thursday at Medinah, when concerns about his wrist took a back seat to concerns about his poor warm-up.
“I didn't know what it was going to do,” Thomas said. “I didn't know how I was going to hit it, and my dad and Jimmy (Johnson, his caddie) and I just kind of said that we were going to have to guess out there and just try to find something.
“I've had that happen plenty of times,” he added, “just not quite that extreme. I'm usually pretty good at finding my way around a golf course and finding something, but definitely didn't expect that today.”
Justin Thomas' interview after Round 1 of BMW Championship