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Justin Thomas followed in the footsteps of Jack Nicklaus, his idol Tiger Woods and friend Jordan Spieth by becoming only the fourth player under 25 to win five times including a major in a PGA Tour season.
The 2017 US PGA champion saw off the challenge of Spieth and Aussie Marc Leishman to capture the Dell Technologies Championship title by three strokes, closing with a five-under-par 66 after a 63 on Sunday had rocketed him up into contention.
As a result, Thomas is up to a career-high No.4 in the world rankings and is just 27 points behind Spieth in the race for the FedEx Cup, after both players overtook Dustin Johnson at the summit following the 2016 US Open champion’s T18 finish at TPC Boston.
Thomas had just one PGA Tour win to his name before this season, so how does he explain this explosion of recent successes? Well, it’s pretty simple according to him.
“I’m a lot better at golf,” he said. “I think I’m stronger. I’m in better shape. I’m way more mentally tough. Things don’t affect me as much. I mean, I’m still fiery. I still get angry. That’s just my personality, my character; that will probably never change.
“But in terms of letting it roll over into the next shot, I think I’m way better at that. I only had two bogeys this week and I’m probably just as proud of that as I am winning.
“I really could have gone 72 holes without a bogey this week, and that’s kind of, I guess you could say, a testimony to where my game is at and the control that I have.
“I just feel like my short game is giving me the opportunity to do that when it probably would not have been able to two years ago.”
After a second consecutive runner-up finish, Spieth is in buoyant mood ahead of the final two play-off events and Presidents Cup and believes he’s playing better golf than in 2015.
“I’m hitting the ball as good or better consistently as I’ve ever hit it,” he said. “And my putter, it’s starting to come around. I tried to mess with things for most of the year and I just stopped trying to mess with it and just set the putter right down and hit it right there; and if it goes in, great; and if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t.
“I’ve putted so much better from inside 10ft this week than I have this entire year. It’s a big confidence boost for me, so it’s very close. I’m very close to the level I played in 2015.”
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