Masters

Thomas has drive to compete at Masters

2017-04-04 11:03
Justin Thomas (Getty)

Augusta - Justin Thomas is slight in stature but huge in driving distance, an odd combination that has produced impressive form and a chance for even greater success at the Masters.

The 23-year-old American has already won three PGA Tour events this season, defending his title last October in Malaysia before back-to-back triumphs in Hawaii, shooting a rare 59 on the way to winning the Sony Open after taking the Tournament of Champions.

Despite standing only 5-ft-10 (1.78m) and 145 lbs (66kg), Thomas ranks 11th in average driving distance on the PGA Tour at 306.5 yards.

"If you just sit down and look at my attributes on paper, look at it how I hit it, yeah, it looks surprising," Thomas said on Monday.

"When you get the conditions, you know you have the right conditions to hit it far and then it just happens."

Thomas grew up relying on his short game because he tee shots were shorter than rivals. But then he found formidable speed, power and swing rhythm as he matured.

"I was really short, like physically very short, so I hit it nowhere," Thomas said. "My junior year of high school, I started hitting it a little bit farther. Probably to do something with my form or maybe got a little bit stronger. I never really worked out.

"And then in college was when I started hitting it a little bit farther than just about everybody I was playing with. I've just gotten stronger since then and I've started to get up on the ball and speeds are just getting faster. So kind of all that is just accumulated into it."

IN CONTENTION

It has accelerated Thomas in the rankings and despite a share of 39th last year in his Masters debut, he is confident he can contend at Augusta National.

"A lot of success was I was confident, playing well, driving it well," Thomas said.

"The biggest thing is the short game. I was not making very many bogeys and I make a lot of birdies. So if I continue to do that, then would I feel like I have a good chance of being in contention.

"I feel very confident with my wedges. But at the end of the day, I was just playing really well... my game feels good. I've made a lot of great work and progress the last couple weeks on stuff I've wanted to work on. I know around here I don't need to be my best, I just need to manage it and I need to be smart."

Thomas also sought advice from three of the greatest champions in Masters history - Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

"In terms of learning things, I tried to pick a lot of guys' brains," Thomas said.

"Talked to Mr. Nicklaus last year, was here earlier this week and played a couple rounds with Phil and been talking to him and talking to Tiger some. I want to be around guys that are successful here and it's kind of hard to get much better than them.

"I feel like a lot of stuff just in terms of course management and picking your spots that I've heard from those guys is key."

Read more on:    masters  |  justin thomas  |  golf
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