Justin Thomas’ attitude was commendable after winning the PGA Championship in dramatic and exhausting fashion. No one would have blamed the 29-year-old for taking a week off after his playoff win at Southern Hills. Instead, Thomas kept his commitment to play in the Charles Schwab Challenge, referencing the words of his alma mater’s football coach, Nick Saban, who doesn’t think too much about winning titles.
It shouldn’t be surprising that JT suffered from a hangover at Southern Hills, but what was shocking was how he played (well) off the court line at Colonial on Friday. Thomas seemed to be in command of his game after a brilliant birdie from a fairway bunker put him in the red for the week. But he then looked like Saban’s Crimson Tide in the fourth quarter of this year’s national championship game against Georgia, completely falling apart in a brutal four-hole stretch.
Thomas bogeyed back-to-back on the 7th and 8th before committing a rare triple bogey on the 9th in which he needed five shots just to get to the surface of the green on the short par 4. Another bogey on the 10th left him in sixth place. he finished for those four holes, and nearly secured the World No. 5 his first missed cut of the 2021-2022 season.
Again, not that we can blame him. Everyone is entitled to a bad day on the golf course, especially someone who came from an all-time special.
However, Thomas won’t be at Colonial this weekend, where the trio of Scottie Scheffler, Scott Stallings and Beau Hossler lead at nine under. Here are four other takeaways from Friday at the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge.
Scottie Scheffler keep rolling
Scheffler probably should have been part of the headline for this story, but is it really news when he’s in the lead? Thomas may be the last major champion, but Scheffler reminded everyone on Friday that he is still the best player in the world.
A week after a disappointing failed cut at the PGA, Scheffler has yet to bogey in two days at Colonial. And his nine birdies have been enough to put him in position to win for an incredible fifth time in nine starts.
“Yeah, I love that stat,” Scheffler said of being bogey-free so far. “It’s a lot of fun. I kept the stress off of myself today for the most part. My back putt was really good, and really the only long par putt I ever made was on No. 7. And other than that, I didn’t really stress. a lot, which is good. A four-day event where I can de-stress is important, especially when the conditions are going to be so tough the next two days.”
So difficult for the rest of the field, that is. This guy is making everything look pretty easy these days.
Jordan Spieth’s Long Range Assault
A day after a miserable performance on the greens in which he missed 1.6 field shots, Spieth bounced back to win more than three shots. And he did a lot of damage from long range, including this latest 35-foot birdie:
As you can see from the PGA Tour tweet, Spieth made a total of 133 feet of putts that day. Not surprisingly, he felt pretty good about the flatstick after his round.
“I just tried to believe the putts would go in,” Spieth told reporters at Colonial. “I hit the left side of the hole on the first, on number 10, our first hole today, and I caught the right side on the 11th, and all of a sudden now I go to the 12th hole and it’s like, wow, the ball doesn’t have to go in. through the middle; can enter around the edges. I just made a beautiful putt today. Better speed control, leave it in the right places.”
It’s also no surprise that Spieth is in contention at the Colonial, where he already has one win and three runner-up finishes. But he trails Scheffler by four and another Masters champion by three. . .
Patrick Reed (finally) getting back in shape?
If it seems like a minute has passed since you’ve seen Reed’s name near the top of the leaderboard, that’s because you have. The 2018 Masters champion earned a runner-up finish in October in Bermuda but has yet to post a top-25 finish in an all-field event in 2022.
That could change this week, though, following Reed’s second straight 66 at Colonial to drop to eight under before the weekend.
Here’s how he explained his improved game, and shots like that, after his round.
“Well, I went through a change there earlier this year, and every time you’re making a change or something like that, you get too much of a golf swing on the golf course,” Reed said. “You can be as technical as you want on the driving range and in practice, but once you step on the golf course you have to be a player. You’re not trying to figure out a golf swing. I feel like I was doing a lot of it early on and for a good part of this year, and now I feel like I’ve settled into how I feel, how the swing is supposed to be, and now when I get on the golf course I can see golf shots instead of trying to see golf swings.”
Whatever the reason, this green jacket winner is seeing a lot of red so far this week.
Nick Taylor’s Tale of Two Nines
After taking a chunk of that eight-way lead on Thursday, Taylor made it to what ended up being the leading score at the end of Friday after just nine holes. Then everything fell apart for the Canadian.
After playing Colonial’s last nine at five under 30, the two-time PGA Tour winner battled his way to six over 41 out front. Oh!
The good news is that, even with that rocky finish, Taylor will be in the top 25 heading into the weekend and in good shape to try and post his first top 10 finish of the season. At No. 112 on the FedEx Cup points list heading into this week, he could use one.