Rookie Thomas off to impressive start

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LA QUINTA, Calif. – Justin Thomas scared a PGA Tour title for the first time in his career Sunday.

If not for his 16th hole, it would have been difficult to tell.

In a six-way tie for the lead and 4 under par for the day, Thomas hit an amped-up 2-iron that went 275 yards and trundled into the left fairway bunker. The only mistake a player can’t make in that situation is to hit it fat, and Thomas said he didn’t put the ball far enough back in his stance with a sand wedge.

Splash.


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The double bogey ended his chances, but a birdie on the last moved him into a tie for seventh at the Humana Challenge – the rookie’s second top 10 in as many weeks (T-6 at the Sony).

“I felt like I played well enough to win,” he said, “and that’s all I could ask for.”

Thomas said he was surprised by how comfortable he felt at PGA West, given his inexperience in both this position and on this stage. The Humana was only his 15th PGA Tour start as a pro.

Thomas will take next week off before resuming his rookie campaign at the Farmers Insurance Open. His stellar start to the season should afford him some flexibility with his schedule moving forward, and he will likely move inside the top 100 in the world.

“This hurts, definitely, a lot,” he said. “I feel like I really played well enough to win.”