AUGUSTA, Ga. – It was the first round of the Masters, and Justin Thomas’ mind was elsewhere. He was scanning the giant leaderboards for other scores. He was looking around at different holes. He was ruing earlier mistakes.
“I just couldn’t get into the moment,” he said Friday, “which is sad and a bummer on the first round of the Masters. ...
“You just wake up some days, and you don’t want to do anything – and I unfortunately I had to go play the first round of the Masters.”
The day went predictably poorly.
The best iron player on the planet, Thomas hit only six greens in regulation and bogeyed two of his last three holes to shoot an opening 76 – a stunning score for one of the pre-tournament favorites.
“That was, far and away, the most pissed off I’ve been after a round in a really, really long time,” Thomas said.
Afterward, his fiancée asked whether he needed to be by himself or wanted to talk about his feelings. She quickly got the hint. Together, they played fetch with their dog, Franklin, for 45 minutes, and Thomas “kind of sulked and pissed and moaned” for a bit longer. They ate dinner, then went to bed.
When he arrived at Augusta National on Friday, Thomas showed the focus and determination that had been missing a day earlier. He went out in 33. Then he ripped off three birdies in a row on the second nine (including a near-ace on 16) to match the low round of the day with a 5-under 67.
That torrid round vaulted him back under par and inside the top 10. Thomas is seven back of 36-hole leader Scottie Scheffler, but he’s only two behind second place. Now, he’s hoping that he can still fully recover from that lackadaisical opener.
“I’m really proud of myself,” he said. “I very easily could be going home right now, and not only am I not, but I’m in a really good spot going into this weekend.”