Golf

Justin Thomas was in the Masters hunt. Then came 4 disastrous holes

Pinehurst #10 opened last week. Want to play it?
Justin Thomas was comfortably inside the Masters cutline with four holes to play Friday. Then the unthinkable happened.
Darren Riehl / GOLF.com
Justin Thomas is on a rough run in the majors.
He missed the cut in three of the four big ones last year, and in the lone major he did make the cut (PGA Championship) he finished T65. He posted an 82 at the Open Championship and an 81 at the U.S. Open. And at Augusta National, where he’d never missed the weekend before, he shot 42 on the back nine to miss the cut by a shot. Suffice to say, majors have been tough sledding for Thomas of late.
On Friday at the Masters, the sledding got tougher.
Heading into the back nine on a gusty day at Augusta National, Thomas was well inside the cutline. In fact, at even par for the championship, he was inside the top 10 and in position to make a push for a late afternoon tee time on Saturday — and a chance to make a run at his first green jacket.
Through 14 holes on Friday, that dream remained alive. Thomas navigated the course like a seasoned pro for much of his second round, making two birdies and two bogeys to sit at even par with four holes to play. It seemed as if his major-championship woes were behind him — a minor blip during an otherwise excellent career. Then, disaster struck.
At the par-5 15th, Thomas misjudged his layup on the second and knocked it into the water. After a drop, his pitch skipped over the green and he needed three shots to find the bottom of the cup, resulting in a double-bogey 7.
Thomas short-sided himself in a bunker on the short 16th, and then made another mental error with a three-putt for double-bogey 5. He found the pine straw with his drive on the 17th, and sailed his approach long from there. When he failed to get up-and-down, he was five over and needed par at the last to make the cut.
That’s when things went from bad to worse.
Thomas snipe-hooked his tee shot at 18 into the trees left of the fairway, and had to hit punch out of the woods backward with his second. He needed fairway wood to have any chance of reaching the green with his third, but once again the left miss reared its head as he hooked it into the gallery left of the green.
After another failed up-and-down, Thomas tapped in for double and walked off the green shell-shocked. Ninety minutes prior, he was in contention and on the first page of the leaderboard. But after a double-double-bogey-double finish, he will instead spend the weekend watching from his couch.
Golf can be a cruel game.

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at zephyr_melton@golf.com.
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