How 1 errant shot kept Justin Thomas from making history at the Players
Justin Thomas’ weekend at the Players Championship was a historic one. Going around Pete Dye’s daunting TPC Sawgrass twice, he needed just 132 blows to get home — good enough to tie the record for low closing 36 holes and a win at the PGA Tour’s marquee event.
But if not for one “errant” shot, he could have made even more history.
As Thomas walked to his ball in the 18th fairway, he was a perfect 17/17 on greens in regulation for the day. No player had ever hit all 18 greens in regulation during the final round at the Players. All that stood between Thomas and history was a sand wedge from 121 yards. It seemed all but certain history would soon be made with the way he had hit the ball all weekend.
Thomas selected sand wedge, went through his pre-shot routine and readied to hit. But just as he was about to pull the trigger, the gallery on the nearby 17th made some noise. It threw off Thomas just enough. His ball settled on the fringe of the 18th green. He finished inches shy of history.
“I should have backed off,” Thomas laughed after the round. “Just horrendous mental work by me.”
He added that he was “not happy” that he missed the green — especially with a sand wedge in hand. Although even with his near miss, Thomas still put on a tremendous ball-striking display over the weekend.
Despite not making history, the stats Thomas put up on the weekend were quite impressive. From tee to green during his round of 64 on Saturday, he gained 5.5 strokes on the field, while on Sunday, he hit the ball even better as he gained 5.6 strokes on the field. All together that’s 11.1 strokes gained over the field with his ball striking over the weekend. Heady stuff.
“[That was] probably one of the best round of my life tee to green,” Thomas said. “Total control of the ball.”