GAINESVILLE, GAINESVILLE, GAINESVILLE, GAINESVILLE, GA Justin Thomas’ head was elsewhere during the first round at the Masters. He was looking at the massive leaderboards for other people’s scores. He was poking around in various holes. He was reminiscing about his previous blunders.
“I simply couldn’t get into the moment,” he said Friday, “which is unfortunate and disappointing in the first round of the Masters.”
“Sometimes you simply wake up and you don’t want to do anything – and I had to go play the first round of the Masters.”
The day did not go as planned.
Thomas, the world’s finest iron player, hit only six greens in regulation and bogeyed two of his final three holes on his way to a first-round 76, a remarkable number for one of the pre-tournament favorites.
“That was by far the most enraged I’ve been after a round in a very, very long time,” Thomas added.
His fiancée then asked if he needed to be alone or if he wanted to talk about his feelings. She soon picked up on the hint. They spent 45 minutes playing fetch with their dog, Franklin, while Thomas “sort of sulked, pissed, and whined” for a little longer. They ate dinner and then retired to their beds.
On Friday, Thomas returned to Augusta National with the focus and determination that had been missing the day before. He was out in 33 minutes. Then, on the back nine, he made three straight birdies (including a near-ace on 16) to match the low round of the day with a 5-under 67.
After that whirlwind round, he was back under par and inside the top ten. Thomas is seven strokes behind 36-hole leader Scottie Scheffler, but only two strokes behind second. Now he’s hopeful he’ll be able to fully recover from that sloppy start.
“I’m very pleased with myself,” he remarked. “I could easily be on my way home right now, but I’m not, and I’m in a great position going into this weekend.”