Two-time Major tournament winner Justin Thomas has had many happy Saturdays playing golf. The third round at the 2022 US Open is unlikely to rank among the others. The writing was perhaps on the wall before the first over of Justin’s day at Edgewood.
Thomas’ opening drive was called out by mistake, which prompted a bemused reaction from the American. Following a solid start of three consecutive pars, confusion made way for fury at the fourth hole when his tee shot landed in a drain in the center of the fairway. Not afforded a drop, he proceeded to play his ball as it lay, with his errant shot sailing into a bunker well short of the green. Looking down at the drain in disgust before his ball had even landed, Thomas could be heard saying on Sky Sports‘ broadcast: “That’s what pisses me off because so many other people would lie about being able to hit that.”
‘Spirit of the game’
A golfer may receive a free drop ball from an official if the lie is affecting their stance or the line of their swing. When he called an official to get a ruling on his shot, Thomas said he decided not to ask for a free drop because he was not sure whether he would hit the drain and did not want to game the system. “I felt like I very easily could have told her that I was going to [hit the drain] and gotten a free drop,” Thomas told reporters. “It’s very clear that my stance was altered and sitting bad because of that drain,” he added.
It’s not the first unconventional shot seen in Brookline this week. On Friday, MJ Daffue ensured that a bunch of fortunate supporters obtained value with an excellent shot amid the floor of hospitality tent. Not wanting to take a penalty shot, the South African hit the ball to a tree, a concessions stand, and the spectators near the fourth hole in the fairway.
On Thursday, Thomas opened with a promising 69 but back-to-back 72’s leave him seven strokes behind leaders Zalatoris and Prayad Marksaeng. A 15-time winner on the PGA tour, Thomas is chasing his second major triumph of the year after winning his second PGA Championship title in May. His best finish at the US Open came in 2018 when he tied for eighth.