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SBNation.com – All Posts: Justin Thomas details remarkable mental turnaround at Travelers Championship


Justin Thomas, PGA Tour, Travelers Championship
CROMWELL, Conn. — Justin Thomas reacts on the fourth green with caddie Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay during the third round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 24, 2023. | Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Thomas, the two-time PGA Champion, has struggled this season, but he put those woes behind him Saturday at the Travelers Championship.

A week ago at the U.S. Open in Los Angeles, Justin Thomas carded an 11-over 81, the worst round of his major championship career as a professional.

He called that performance both ‘humiliating’ and ‘embarrassing.’

Eight days later, Thomas looked like one of the best players in the world.

He shot an 8-under 62 at the Travelers Championship Saturday, his lowest round of the season. His superb play soared him up the leaderboard 26 spots.

For a professional to have a 19-shot disparity between two rounds—a little more than a week apart now less—is quite rare.

But that’s golf.

“Yeah, I feel great,” Thomas said to Amanda Renner of CBS Sports after his round. “I am having fun playing golf this week, which is something I have not been able to say for a long time.”

Justin Thomas, PGA Tour, Travelers Championship
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images
CROMWELL, Conn. — Justin Thomas plays an approach shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 24, 2023.

Dating back to his missed cut at the Masters in April, Thomas has failed to finish in the top ten in the five events he has started since.

That includes a tie for 65th at Oak Hill for the PGA Championship and missed cuts at the Memorial and U.S. Open.

Despite his poor performances, Thomas appears to have found his high level of confidence again.

“I legitimately was playing the best golf I have played in years in the five-to-6 days leading into the [U.S.] Open,” Thomas said. “It’s just golf. It’s not fun sometimes, but it is [other times].”

“I think the weekend away from golf was potentially the best thing for me.”

Sometimes players need to take a step back and decompress.

Thomas did that as he and Max Homa sipped on some rosé and drunkenly predicted the U.S. Open winner and winning score.

Consequently, Renner asked Thomas to predict the outcome of the Travelers Championship too.

“It’s so soft out there,” Thomas noted. “I am going to need something stupid low again [Sunday], but I am just happy to be in this position. I am just going to try and shoot as low as I can, but it will probably take a 9-or-10-under.”

Thomas, who began his round on the back nine due to weather, shot a 4-under 31 on his opening half. He replicated that on the front side, making four more birdies on his way into the clubhouse to card a 62.

But as the Lousiville, Kentucky native noted, he will have to do better than that Sunday.

His recent performances suggest otherwise, but golf works in mysterious ways.

It would not surprise anyone if Thomas went lower, and turned some heads back in his direction at TPC River Highlands.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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