PALM HARBOR, Fla. – On his 28th birthday, Justin Thomas couldn’t want the ball within the gap within the first spherical of the Valspar Championship.
Thomas ranked No. 146 within the 156-man discipline in Strokes Gained: Putting, dropping greater than 2 ½ strokes to the sphere with the quick stick. And that’s after holing a 13-foot birdie putt at the final gap. That’s the dangerous information.
The excellent news? That birdie putt accomplished a spherical of 2-under 69 for Thomas at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course and five strokes behind leader Keegan Bradley after the opening spherical, and two higher than his fellow taking part in competitor, World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who headed straight to the vary after an detached spherical.
Best of all for Thomas? The World No. 2 wasn’t overly involved with his struggles on the greens.
“Hit a lot of quality putts that just didn’t go in. The only really truly bad putt I hit today was 14. I just hit it too hard. I was playing break for softer speed and I rammed it. But I hit a lot of good putts I feel like that could and should have gone in and hit a lot of quality golf shots,” he stated. “I know I easily could have shot 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-shots better, 2-under is fine after the first day.”
Thomas obtained off to a flying begin with a 12-foot eagle at the primary gap and stuffed his method from 186 yards to inside 2 toes at the second. He made his first bogey of the day at the sixth, however obtained it again by drilling a 5-iron inside a foot at the par-3 eighth gap.
“Just tried to get a good flight on it and hold it up against the right-to-left wind and that was probably the best shot I hit today,” Thomas stated.
But on the again 9, the putter let him down with bogeys at the 2 par 3s, Nos. 13 and 15, and he missed from inside 3 toes for birdie at 14. Despite the birdie at the final, Thomas headed straight to the placing inexperienced to work on his stroke with his father, caddie, and placing coach John Graham.
The birthday dinner celebration wouldn’t be put on maintain for lengthy, he stated.
“I just want to go see a couple go in and see if there’s anything that maybe fundamentally or anything that might be wrong to why I was missing them, but, no, I mean, I hit plenty of good putts out there,” he stated.
When he blows out the candle on his birthday cake, Thomas ought to want for a greater placing day on Friday when he’ll have the benefit of placing on recent greens within the morning.
Check the yardage book: Innisbrook’s Copperhead for the Valspar Championship