MEXICO CITY – In four short days, Justin Thomas went from “helpless” to nearly unstoppable.
After playing his first 36 holes even par and starting the weekend 11 off the pace, Thomas went 16 under Saturday and Sunday, closing with rounds of 62-64 to force extra holes against Phil Mickelson.
His turnaround was even more impressive considering his Thursday assertion that his opening round 72 was “probably the worst I've ever felt over the ball in my life.”
But he rallied with a course-round 62 on Saturday and arrived at the 72nd hole Sunday tied for the lead with Mickelson and Tyrrell Hatton at 14 under. From 121 yards, Thomas holed his approach shot for eagle to take the clubhouse lead.
Although he struggled on the first playoff hole, sailing the 17th green and failing to salvage his par, his runner-up finish completed an eventful fortnight that included a victory last week at the Honda Classic and a jump to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
“I was a little pumped up and the gap wedge [in the playoff] went a lot farther than I thought it was going to,” Thomas said. “But man, there's nothing for me to hang my head about. To even have a chance to win this golf tournament after where I was through 18, through 36 holes, I'm very proud of myself. I think it's the most maturity and poise I've shown in a tournament I've ever played.”