Rookie Thomas near the lead again


LOS ANGELES – Another week, another title contention for Justin Thomas.

So far, at least.

The 21-year-old rookie is just one stroke behind leader Retief Goosen at the Northern Trust Open following a 2-under 69 on Friday. This is becoming familiar territory for Thomas, who owns three top-10s already this season, including two in his last four starts.

“I'm having a blast,” he said after the round. “Obviously, I wish the outcomes were a lot different, but that I think is a part of the process and I've learned from them. It's been a lot of fun, but I'm just trying to take each day and each week as a learning experience, along with trying to get in contention to win the tournament.”

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Thomas eagled the first hole – his 10th of the day – and birdied two others on a course which is growing increasingly fierce.

“It's just a tough golf course. I've only played one major but from my experience and from what I've heard from others, this is very U.S. Open-like, I would say. It's very firm, and being in the fairway is such a huge premium, and all the spin you can get on it is really important.”