If you’re an avid, longtime golfer without an ace on your resume, then Justin Thomas is the kind of player you really, really wish you could hate, but you simply because you have way too much admiration and respect for anyone who has so many hole-in-ones that he’s lost count. Thomas aced the par-3 13th with a “comfortable” 6-iron from 239 yards. He also posted a six-under 66 to take the 54-hole lead heading into the final round of a star-studded leaderboard at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 4, 2017
“It was 239 (yards) to the hole and it just happened to just be a perfect 6‑iron with the elevation here,” said Thomas. “Trying to land it about six, seven or eight short, which I think it did. Is really landed hard and just popped right in the hole. It was pretty cool to see the gallery go nuts up there.” Asked how many aces he has, Thomas replied, “I think 19, 20.” No big deal. (For the record, when I asked him last summer, he said the tally was at 19, so that would make this 20.) JT has had quite an eventful 2016-2017 season. Last winter he successfully defended his title at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. He completed the Hawaii slam, winning the Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open — which included shooting 59 one round — in January. In the five times he’s held the 54-hole lead, he’s closed out to win three of them, all of which were the past three this season. It’s fair to say he’s a solid closer and we can almost forget those other two times and chalk them up to “learning experiences.” While he’s had hefty competition in the past, it wasn’t a WGC field with names like Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson lurking a shot or two behind him. JT ain’t scared. He was born for this. He’s been dreaming of moments like this since he was 8 years old (probably younger).
“I’m not scared, I think that’s one thing, but at the same time I’ve had great days, I’ve played well,” he said. “Over the course of a long career you’re going to have days on Sunday where you have a lead and you don’t play well, it’s just a matter of what you make of it those days. I was fortunate enough in Malaysia both times to have a great Sunday and the same again at Kapalua, and Sony I had a big lead. So tomorrow will be a little different for me. I have a lot of great players chasing me, I just have to go out and make a bunch of birdies.”
Because I know you’ve all been anxiously waiting for the answer: WHAT KIND OF CERVEZA did JT send to the media center??!
— Stephanie Wei (@StephanieWei) March 4, 2017
Phew. Well played, JT.
I meant to post about the lovely outing I attended last August, but stuff happens and I still feel badly that I didn’t write about it here (only social media), so I figured, this is a good time to share! BETTER LATE THAN NEVER.
Last summer, I played in a Mastercard outing at Stanwich in Connecticut. I had the opportunity to sit down with JT for a 15-minute-ish interview (more like a conversation, I hope) and he even played a hole with each group that attended.
A few of us media peeps Luke Elvy, Brian Wacker, Erik Matuszewski and myself had the privilege of watching JT nearly make his 20th ace that day — also on the par-3 13th. I even captured it on video! He got totally robbed. I know you can’t tell from that footage, but trust me, he did.
(And I definitely started it way too soon! We were joking about the difficultly of timing snaps since you only get 10 seconds — I have been impressed with JT and Rickie’s SnapChat game, especially during SB2K16 — and how he always tells Jordan Spieth that he plays too slow, etc.)
I asked JT how many aces he’d had and he told me (with complete confidence) “19,” so that would make this his 20th career hole-in-one. Regardless, that’s simply nuts. Imagine being 23 years old and having 20 ACES. 2-0!!! Unreal.
Just for fun, here’s the chat I had with Thomas earlier that day at Stanwich: