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Justin Thomas on essentially shooting self out of Masters: 'It just sucks'

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – While Hideki Matsuyama distanced himself from the field after Saturday’s weather delay at the Masters, Justin Thomas went the other way.

Thomas, who was 5 under for the tournament and just two shots off the lead when the horn blew, three-putted the ninth green for bogey when he returned to the course and ended up playing his final 10 holes in 4 over. His 3-over 75 dropped him to 1 under and essentially wrecked his chances of winning a green jacket this year.

“It just sucks to shoot yourself pretty much out of it in a 10-hole stretch,” Thomas said afterward.

Thomas mostly blamed his struggles on his failure to adjust to slower, softer greens after the restart. He followed his bogey at No. 9 by missing a 5-footer for birdie at No. 10 and then three-putting the 11th green.

Justin Thomas breaks down crucial triple-bogey on 13

Justin Thomas breaks down crucial triple-bogey on 13

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His biggest mistake, though, was a triple bogey on the par-5 13th, the third easiest hole on the course. Thomas tried to hit one of those low, running hooks, but the ball never hooked and ended up way in the pine trees. After punching out, Thomas deposited a wedge into the creek, and he followed that with a poor flop shot that settled 35 feet past the hole. He left his bogey putt 8 feet short and missed the next putt, too.

“I just chunked it,” Thomas said of his third shot. “I couldn't really lay it up to a number that I wanted to because of the shot I had to hit, and it was fine. I even told myself, it's not a good number, just get it past the hole, and I sometimes forget kind of how steep that is, and it being into the grain like that, I wanted to hit it up in the air a little bit, and I probably just got stuck behind it trying to lift it in the air, and I just chunked it. Then I kind of boned the chip shot, and it's a putt I knew was just so fast, and it wasn't. Tony [Finau] and I talked about it. He watched my putt, and he tried to hit his harder, and he still left it 2 feet short. It was so hard for me to adjust to it out there.”

The triple forced the leaderboard crews to take Thomas’ name off completely and replace him with Finau. Thomas then bogeyed the par-4 14th after his approach from the pine straw nearly sailed onto the 15th tee box. During the shot, he appeared to hurt his right hand, the same hand and wrist that forced him to miss time, including a PGA Championship, a couple of years ago, but Thomas insisted later he was OK.

“I don't know what happened,” Thomas said. “I've been playing golf I don't know how long now, and I've never in my life got a flier out of pine straw. That just doesn't happen. I hit it, and I think there was like a rock under my ball, but it kind of jarred my wrist a little bit. … It worried me at first because I felt it and I heard it, and I was worried my wrist was hurt, but it was fine.”

Thomas rebounded with a birdie on No. 15 to get back into red numbers for the tournament. However, it also got him back into red numbers on par-5s this week, which is never a recipe for success at Augusta National.

And he’ll enter Sunday with little hope.

“I just have to forget about it and try to do something historic tomorrow,” he said. “… I just need to go out and try to shoot 10 or 11 under and see where it puts me.”