April 20, 2021

Thomas learnt from past mistakes

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“I basically just told myself to shut up and figure out what you’re doing because I could lose that tournament just as easily as I won it.”

By Ali Stafford

Last Updated: 03/08/20 9:38am

6:20
Justin Thomas’ reaction and his final round highlights following his victory in the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational

Justin Thomas’ reaction and his final round highlights following his victory in the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational

Justin Thomas used his recent experiences of near-misses on the PGA Tour to claim a third win of the season and move back to world No 1 at the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational.

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Thomas overturned a four-stroke deficit on the final day at TPC Southwind in Memphis to claim a three-stroke victory – his 13th PGA Tour title – and leapfrog Jon Rahm at the top of the world rankings.

The 27-year-old went into the final round of the Charles Schwab Challenge in June a shot off the pace but slipped out of contention with a final-round 71, before throwing away a three-stroke lead during the final three holes of the Workday Charity Open.

Thomas carded a five-under 65 on the final day in Memphis Thomas carded a five-under 65 on the final day in Memphis

Thomas carded a five-under 65 on the final day in Memphis

This time around saw Thomas follow three birdies in his opening seven holes by holing a 20-footer at the ninth, before cancelling out a bogey at the 12th with back-to-back gains from the 15th to secure a first win since the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January.

“It was a hard-fought day, but it meant a lot I just felt like how we did it, being four behind to start the day,” Thomas said. “I haven’t exactly played well coming from behind in the past and I feel like I learned a lot from that.

Thomas back to No 1 with WGC win

Report and highlights from the final round of the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational.

“Especially at Colonial [Charles Schwab Challenge, I just didn’t handle it well and I pressed way too hard and I definitely learned a lot from Workday [Charity Open] and Columbus.

“Just how I handled that lead and that situation the last couple holes. I obviously did a very poor job, but because of that I felt a lot more calm and stayed more in the moment today.”

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Defending champion Brooks Koepka was Thomas’ closest challenger over the closing holes until he bogeyed the 16th and double-bogeyed the last, with a host of other players also in contention during a thrilling final round.

“I didn’t look at a leaderboard until I stared right into one on the 13th tee,” Thomas added. “I felt like I kind of got in the zone out there and I wasn’t worried about what everybody else was doing.

Thomas' victory follows wins this season at the CJ Cup and Sentry Tournament of Championship Thomas' victory follows wins this season at the CJ Cup and Sentry Tournament of Championship

Thomas’ victory follows wins this season at the CJ Cup and Sentry Tournament of Championship

“That is the nice part about not having fans, there were no roars or anything I could think about other than me just executing every shot the best that I could.

“I think that’s something that helped today in terms of learning from Workday [Charity Open], I just didn’t get ahead of myself anytime those last two, three holes, where I felt like my mind was kind of wandering and maybe thinking about winning.

“I basically just told myself to shut up and figure out what you’re doing because I could lose that tournament just as easily as I won it today. I was really, really proud of myself to stay in the moment and get it done.”