NAPA. Calif. — Justin Thomas dedicated to a driver change, tinkered a bit of along with his swing and acquired rapid outcomes with a 5-under 67 that left him 4 strokes off the tempo Friday within the Fortinet Championship.
It was precisely what the previous top-ranked participant wanted after going winless in the course of the FedEx Cup season, taking a while off after which struggling via the primary spherical in Napa. Certainly one of 4 U.S. Ryder Cup workforce members at Silverado Resort, Thomas feels significantly better about his recreation than he did a short while in the past.
S.H. Kim performed within the afternoon and made six birdies and one bogey for a 67 and a share of the lead with Sahith Theegala (64) at 12-under 132. Kim had an opportunity to tug forward on his final gap, however left a 24-foot putt quick on No. 18.
Two-time defending champion Max Homa, additionally on the Ryder Cup workforce, had a 66 to match Thomas at 8 beneath. U.S. captain Zach Ryder (74) and co-captain Stewart Cink (72) had been tied at 1-under 143 and missed the lower within the remaining tune-up to the Ryder Cup in two weeks.
Thomas, utilizing a brand new driver with a shaft practically an inch longer, was way more crisp off the tee and acquired longer, extra correct drives consequently.
Thomas stated he is been practising utilizing the brand new driver for about three weeks and is happy with the outcomes, saying he might by no means swap again. He hit 8 of 14 fairways Friday and had a median driving distance of 340 yards.
“If I drive it like I did as we speak, I will use it for the remainder of my profession,” Thomas joked.
Extra vital than the change in tools for Thomas was a slight alteration to his swing.
“At the same time as a golfer we are the first in charge something and all the things else, nevertheless it was me,” Thomas stated. “I may inform in a single video I used to be getting caught beneath it. So I had an excellent thought simply from a bit of 10-minute vary session yesterday afternoon that I felt like may get me via as we speak, and it labored fairly nicely.”
Theegala, winless on the tour, felt fairly good about his personal spherical that included a chip-in for eagle out of a greenside bunker on No. 5.
That helped him calm down much more than he already was, an perspective he carried into Napa after stressing in regards to the match in yr’s previous when the Fortinet was the season-opening occasion.
That is not the case anymore, because the match in Napa is the primary of seven that comprise the FedEx Fall.
Gamers who did not end within the high 50 can proceed to earn factors, with these ending the autumn 51st-60 getting exemption for the primary two signature occasions of 2024 whereas gamers throughout the high 125 retain their tour playing cards.
Theegala, thirty first in factors, is already locked in for subsequent season and was capable of focus totally on his spherical Friday.
“The final couple years I used to be tremendous nervous Monday via Wednesday, however this Monday via Wednesday I used to be actually relaxed and type of simply felt like one other match,” Theegala stated.
Beginning on the again 9, Theegala acquired off to a fast begin with birdies on three of the primary six holes. After a bogey on the par-4 sixteenth, Theegala acquired again on observe and acquired to 10-under with the eagle on No. 5 earlier than closing his spherical with birdies on two of his remaining 4 holes.
“If I may simply get my tee photographs in play and get the driving force beneath management, I really feel fairly good about the remainder of my recreation,” Theegala stated. “I didn’t try this as we speak. I acquired actually lucky, I acquired a pair very nice breaks.”