Justin Thomas Blows Up With a Career-Worst Day at Valspar Championship

Justin Thomas Valspar Championship

Getty Justin Thomas during the third round of the 2024 Valspar Championship.

Entering the third round of the 2024 PGA Tour Valspar Championship on March 23 just one stroke out of the lead, Justin Thomas made an easy birdie on the par-5 first hole at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook, tapping in a 2-foot, 9-inch putt to get himself into the logjam atop the leaderboard.

But that was as good as it got for JT, who hasn’t won since his victory at the 2022 PGA Championship, as the remainder of his afternoon looked nothing like that opening hole.

In fact, his putt on No. 1 was the longest he made in the third round, a round during which he took 38 total putts and holed just 22 feet and 10 inches worth of them. Overall, according to golf data analyst Rick Gehman, Thomas lost 7.034 strokes on the green, marking the worst putting round of his professional career.

Naturally, such a disastrous day on the greens led to a bloated scorecard, as the 30-year-old shot an 8-over round of 79, tied for the worst round of the day, and dropped into a tie for 66th at the 54-hole mark.

Justin Thomas Had a Disastrous 3rd Round at the Valspar Championship

Following his birdie on the opening hole, it didn’t take long for Thomas to take a turn for the worse on the Copperhead Course.

At the par-4 second, he three-putted for bogey after hitting his approach to just over 26 feet, rolling his first more than seven feet past the hole. On the par-4 third, after hitting his approach into a greenside bunker, he hit his ensuing sand shot to just six feet but failed to convert the putt, leading to another bogey.

After strong approaches on No. 4 and No. 5, which he hit to 13 and six feet, respectively, he failed to hole either birdie putt, settling for a pair of pars.

At the short par-4 seventh, which was playing just 398 yards, Thomas again found a greenside bunker on his approach, leaving himself just over 35 feet to the hole. After blasting his third shot to just over 10 feet, he rolled his par attempt past the hole, leaving himself with a two-foot, three-inch putt for bogey. But JT missed that one as well and tapped in for a double.

He then missed a four-footer on No. 8, which led to another bogey, and bogeyed the ninth as well, going out with a 5-over 41.

While Thomas’ back nine was slightly better, it wasn’t by much as he added three more bogeys to go along with six pars en route to a 3-over 38. At 3-over for the week, he enters the final round 13 shots behind leader Keith Mitchell, who takes a two-stroke lead into the final 18 holes after tying for the low round of the day with a 5-under 66.

Thomas Has Been Inconsistent Recently After a Strong Start to the Season

After famously missing the PGA Tour Playoffs a season ago, finishing 71st in the 2022-23 FedExCup standings (the top 70 get in) after recording just four top-10 finishes in 21 starts, Justin Thomas got off to a strong start in 2024.

In his first start of the season at The American Express, he shot 65-67-61-68 to tie for third, just two shots behind winner Nick Dunlap. Two weeks later, he tied for sixth at Pebble Beach, a tourney that was shortened to 54 holes due to weather. Another week later, at the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, Thomas tied for 12th.

A season ago, Thomas didn’t record his third finish of 12th or better until June 25 at the Travelers Championship.

But since Phoenix, he’s been a bit inconsistent.

At the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where Jordan Spieth was disqualified after signing an incorrect scorecard following his second round, Thomas joined his good friend in missing the weekend, shooting 72-73 to miss the cut by two.

Three weeks later, however, he was back in good form, tying for 12th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

But the following week at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, which he won in 2021, JT failed to make the cut, shooting 71-74 to again miss the weekend by two shots. And then there’s the Valspar, where he was playing well before his rough Round 3.

And his putting has undoubtedly contributed to this inconsistency. After solid performances on the greens to start the season, he finished seventh from the bottom in strokes gained putting at the Genesis (-1.23), according to Data Golf.

Even during his T12 finish at Bay Hill, Thomas tied for 33rd in the same category (+0.15), relying on other aspects of his game to keep him in contention. And at TPC Sawgrass during The Players, he was the 11th-worst putter in the 144-player field (-1.69).

With The Masters not far off — the year’s first major begins on April 11 — one has to wonder how Justin Thomas’ recent putting woes will affect him at Augusta, where the flat stick is crucial.

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