Justin Thomas won for the second time in his first four starts in the wraparound 2016-17 PGA Tour season on Sunday at the SBS Tournament of Champions, raising him to 12th in the world and the scariest thing of all is that some of his peers think this is just the beginning for the 23-year-old.
That winning feeling ?
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 9, 2017
Thomas shot a final-round 4-under par 69 to top perhaps the only other player in the world who’s been hotter than him in the recent months, Hideki Matsuyama, by three strokes. Jordan Spieth finished in a tie for third place alongside Pat Perez and Ryan Moore. After the final round, Golf Digest‘s Dave Shedlowski caught up with Spieth to see what he thought of his friend’s recent run of form.
“Yeah, I think it’s potentially floodgates opening for him [Thomas],” said Spieth, who waited greenside at 18 to congratulate his friend when it was over. “The guy hits it forever. He’s got a really, really nifty short game. He manages the course well. He used to hit more drivers, and he’s dialing back a bit now and hitting like a trusty 2-iron out there that he can still hit 285 yards, you know, with a little bit of roll. So, really excited for him. It’s awesome. It’s awesome to see. He’s going to be tough to beat next week, too.”
Spieth, among others, has been an inspiration of sorts to Thomas in recent months, making him feel like a bit of an underachiever. Sheepishly, Thomas agreed that the success of his friends has been a spur to him.
“I think it drove me a lot,” Thomas said. “It’s weird, I mean, some of my good friends, I mean, I’m … trying to think how I’m going to word this. I wasn’t mad, but it was maybe a little frustrating sometimes seeing some friends and peers my age do well. Not because I wasn’t cheering for them, because I feel like I was as good as them. It’s just immature of me. I mean, the fact of the matter is, over the course of a long career, we’re going to beat each other. That’s just how it is.”
Even with his self-proclaimed “slow” start to his career, Thomas is already well on his way to being one of the top players in the game. While many are predicting that he will take the next step this season, he’s already reached some pretty lofty company as a three-time PGA Tour winner.
Justin Thomas, 23, now has the same number of PGA Tour titles as Rickie Fowler, 28.
— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 9, 2017