Thomas started the day in a tie for fourth place, and after a birdie on No. 15 he briefly got to within two shots of leader Adam Scott. But Thomas’ tee shot on the par-3 17th missed left and caromed into a difficult lie in a bunker, leading to a costly double bogey.
“It was a bummer. My miss the last three or four weeks has been high and right, and that’s not obviously an ideal shot for me,” Thomas said. “It kicked left on that downslope and from there, I felt like it was hard to even hit the green. So my one goal was just not to hit it in the water.”
Thomas dropped only one other shot en route to a 1-under 69, and he was the only player in the field to break 70 in each round on the demanding Champion Course. He ended the week at 5 under, four shots behind Scott and tied for third alongside Blayne Barber.
Despite winning during the fall portion of this season, Thomas was notably absent from this week’s Ryder Cup dinner because he was outside the top 40 in the points race. This result should improve that standing considerably, and it came at just the right time for Thomas after a difficult West Coast Swing.
“I haven’t played well or been in contention for a while, so this is a big step in the right direction. Felt comfortable out there again,” he said. “I felt like I had a great chance to win and it was unfortunate not to get it done. But it’s a lot better than being upset…finishing what I have the past couple weeks.”