Potomac - Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler contended for the
US Open title two weeks ago and face another formidable test at this week's PGA National ahead of July's British Open.
The 7 107-yard, par-70 TPC Potomac layout in suburban
Washington has been renovated since it last hosted a PGA event in 2006 when
known as Avenel.
"You could 100 percent host a US Open here starting
tomorrow(Friday). You really could," said 12th-ranked American Justin
Thomas. "It's not very often we play greens this firm on tour other than
"(Rough) is thick and there's times where you're just
going to have to chip out. It's very major like. It's very US Open like."
Thomas fired a nine-under par 63 in the third round of the
US Open two weeks ago at Erin Hills, but fell to ninth with a final-round 75.
Ninth-ranked Rickie Fowler, who led after the opening round
at Erin Hills, settled for a share of fifth and will resume his quest for a
first major victory at next month's British Open at Royal Birkdale.
He agrees TPC Potomac will provide a stern preparation for
what he might face in England.
"It'll be very tough," Fowler said. "It does
have the feel of a little bit more than just a normal tour event as far as what
the difficulty level is out there."
Thomas says the grinding needed to win this week will test
skills that will be even more crucial in the next major.
"In terms of it being a little bit more of a grind and trying
to make pars, British Opens can definitely get that way, so maybe I can kind of
get some good vibes sort of thing," Thomas said.
Four British Open berths are up for grabs this week, with
the four top finishers not already qualified earning spots at Royal Birkdale.
Fowler, 28, is chasing his eighth career title and fifth PGA
crown, his most recent coming in February at the Honda Classic.
"Goal is continue trending upward," Fowler said.
"I've been playing well, consistent, having the win and being in
contention in the first two majors of the year. Just looking to play well here
and go over and play well at the Scottish and get myself acclimated, get ready
for the British Open."
Thomas, 24, seeks his fourth PGA title of the season, having
taken his second consecutive CIMB Classic title last October in Malaysia and
added triumphs at the Tournament of Champions and Sony Open in Hawaii last
World number 17 Patrick Reed seeks his sixth career PGA
triumph, his most recent being last August at the Barclays. His best major
finish was a share of 12th at last year's British Open.
Reed comes off his best finish of the season, a share of
fifth at last week's Travelers Championship.
"I feel like I'm playing well enough to win," Reed
said. "If I put myself in position to win golf tournaments enough, then
winning will take care of itself."
Reed likes that his mind and stamina will both be tested on
a hilly course where patience will be a virtue.
"It's a good test. It's a challenging one," Reed
said. "It's just going to take a lot of patience and good shots to shoot a
"The biggest thing this week is more mental than
physical. The back nine, there are some hilly, hard walks. It just plays with
you mentally on how narrow are these fairways. When you get to the back nine,
the first couple seem like they're an inch wide."
South Korea's Kim Si-Woo, who last month won the Players
Championship, is paired alongside 2016 PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker and
fellow American Billy Hurley, the defending champion.