CALIFORNIA’S PACIFIC PALISADES – As if Justin Thomas will ever forget what happened on the 15th hole at Riviera Country Club during his match against Jordan Spieth at the 2012 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship, caddie Michael Greller picks at the scab.
On Thursday, Jordan Spieth stated, “Michael FaceTimes him every single time on the 15th hole, and he stops answering now.” “Even though he was two groups behind us, he asked if he should FaceTime him immediately as we walked up 15.” Justin used to answer it for a few years, but now he either flips him off or doesn’t answer it at all.”
“But then he FaceTimed Bones, and that’s how he got me,” Thomas explained. “He’s a thief.”
Spieth’s fateful shot, a 4-iron approach that disappeared into the bottom of the cup, all but iced their head-to-head encounter and helped Spieth’s Texas Longhorns defeat Thomas’ Alabama side 3-2 in the match play final, is being commemorated this year.
“Whenever I bring that up, he gets irritated,” Spieth added.
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Thomas and Spieth have both been lurking behind 36-hole leaders Joaquin Niemann (16 under) and Cameron Young (14 under) this week at the Genesis Invitational, and no one would be surprised if Thomas, who is tied for third with Adam Scott (9 under), and Spieth, who is tied for fourth with Adam Scott (9 under), arrive at the 15th hole dueling again on Sunday.
Thomas has a one-shot lead over Spieth after shooting a 7-under 64 on Friday, compared to Spieth’s 67. Both players took full advantage of the par-5 11th hole, with Spieth making eagle from 30 feet off the green and Thomas rolling in an eagle putt from 32 feet.
Thomas commented, “That was easily the most well-played hole I had today.” “After I hit the second shot, I told Bones that I’d missed it short right to that pin too many times previously, and that wasn’t going to happen again.”
Spieth was on the verge of matching Thomas’s bogey-free day until he squandered a magnificent Chamber of Commerce day in this Los Angeles suburb with three putts on the last hole. Despite the great conditions for scoring, Thomas praised Niemann and Young, his closest pursuers, for their blistering pace.
“There’s no way you’re going to see 16 in front after two rounds here,” Thomas remarked. “I would have assumed that shooting 11 under, yeah, 11 under, I would be leading, not five back, but there’s still a lot of golf to be played.”