Alabama’s Justin Thomas Off to Strong Start at 2022 U.S. Open
Former Alabama golfer Justin Thomas got off to a solid start at the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club at Brookline, Massachusetts on Thursday. Thomas is looking to win back-to-back majors after securing the PGA Championship less than a month ago.
Traditionally known as "The Toughest Test in Golf" the U.S. Open makes professional golfers look like mortal men. Thomas started his round facing a 3-shot deficit as Rory McIlroy and Callum Tarren both finished their morning rounds 3-under par.
The Louisville-native opened his round with three consecutive pars, finding the green on all three holes with long birdie putt opportunities but was unable to convert on the challenging greens.
On hole No. 4 Thomas found a green-side bunker on his approach shot and was unable to save par, dropping a stroke and moving his scorecard to 1-over par.
A miss off the tee on No. 5 put Thomas right back into a bunker and his escape found more sand. However, Thomas chipped out of the sand and narrowly missed a birdie-make and saved par on a short putt back uphill.
The 5th ranked golfer in the world found the green on par-3 No. 6 and made a challenging birdie putt to bring his round back to even par.
His strong play continued on No. 7 despite finding the thick rough off the tee. Thomas muscled his approach shot onto the green and once again missed a long birdie putt by just inches and converted his par.
Thomas birdied the par-5 8th hole to take his round to 1-under par and keep him in range of the leaders. He pared the next four holes, showing patience in his approach to the difficult course.
The reigning PGA Champion attacked hole No. 13, finding the fairway off the tee and putting his approach shot to just five feet away and converting his birdie putt for his third birdie of the round.
Unfortunately, Thomas gave the stroke right back on the par-5 No. 14. He found rough off the tee, sand on his next shot and left himself with a long birdie opportunity. For the first time in the round Thomas put his birdie putt close but missed the 6-foot par putt to give back a stroke.
He battled the course to close his round parring each of the final four holes. Thomas continually was able to escape perilous positions for long birdie opportunities but wasn't able to make difficult putts from distance.
His 1-under round of 69 keeps him exactly where he started on the leaderboard, just three shots off the overall leader Adam Hadwin's 4-under solo lead.
Thomas tees off in the morning group for Friday's second round. He starts at 6:29 a.m. with Viktor Hovland (E) and Tony Finau (+3). His round can be viewed on the Peacock App or on USA Network beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Friday.
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