Justin Thomas’ attitude was commendable after winning the PGA Championship in a dramatic – and stressful way. Nobody was faulting the 29-year-old as he took a week off after winning the play-off at Southern Hills. Instead, Thomas has kept his commitment to playing in the Charles Schwab Challenge, citing the words of his alma mater school football coach, Nick Saban, who doesn’t talk about the titles he’s won for a long time.
It should come as no surprise that JT suffered a hangover at Southern Hills, but what was shocking was how he played himself (well) outside the cutting line at Colonial on Friday. Thomas seemed to be in control of his game after an adorable bird from a Fairway lair moved him into this week’s Red Characters. But then he looked like Saban Crimson Tide in the final quarter of this year’s National Championship game against Georgia, completely collapsing on a brutal four-hole stretch.
Thomas made a back-to-back bogey in 7 and 8 before making a rare triple bogey in number 9 as he needed only five shots to reach the cocking deck in short level 4. Another bogey in 10th placed him in sixth. More than those four holes, and they all confirmed that the world number 5 seed had missed for the first time in the 2021-2022 season.
Again, we can’t fault him. Everyone deserves to have a bad day on the golf course – especially someone who has been out having a great day the whole time.
In any case, Thomas will not be around this Colonial weekend, with the trio of Scotty Scheffler, Scott Stallings and Bo Hausler leading at nine under nine. Here are four takeaways from Fridays at the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge.
Scotty Scheffler keeps rolling
Scheffler might have been part of the title of this story, but is it really news anymore when he’s on top? Thomas may be the latest big champion, but Schaeffler reminded everyone on Friday that he’s still the best player in the world.
A week after a disappointing loss to the PGA, Scheffler has yet to make a bogey in two days at the Colonial. His nine flyers were enough to put him in a position to win an astonishing fifth time in nine matches.
“Yeah, I love that stat,” Scheffler said of being ghost-free so far. It’s so much fun. Today, I kept tension most of the time. My tardiness was really good, the fact that the only long throw I did was in seventh place. Outside of that, I didn’t put a lot of pressure on myself, which is a good thing. A four-day event and a day where I can de-stress, especially when conditions are very difficult for the next couple of days is important.”
Very hard on the rest of the field, that is. This guy makes everything seem so easy these days.
Jordan Spieth’s long-range attack
After a day of a miserable performance on the Greens in which he lost 1.6 strokes on the field, Spieth bounced back to earn more than three strokes. And it did a lot of damage from long range, including a 35-foot birdie at the end:
As you can see from the PGA Tour tweet, Spieth made a total of 133 feet of hits for the day. Not surprisingly, he was satisfied with the flat-topper after his tour.
“I just tried to believe the strikes would come in,” Speth told reporters at Colonial. “I kind of caught the left side of the hole in the first–at number 10, our first hole today, and I caught the right side on the eleventh, and all of a sudden now I’m going to hole number 12 and it’s like, Wow, the ball shouldn’t go in the middle; It could go in on the edges. Just beautifully laid out today. Better speed control, leaving it in the right places.”
It’s also no surprise that Spieth is in competition at Colonial, where he and three contestants have already won. But it trails Schaeffler by four and another Masters champion with three. . .
Patrick Reed (finally) is back in shape?
If it feels like a minute has passed since you saw Red’s name near the top of the leaderboard, it’s because it really happened. The 2018 Masters champion finished second in October in Bermuda, but has yet to score as one of the top 25 in a full-field event in 2022.
That may change this week, though, after Colonial’s second 66 Reds move up to eight under heading into the weekend.
Here’s how he explained his improved gameplay – and shots like that – after his run.
“Well, I made a change there earlier this year, and any time you make a change or something, you get an extreme swing on the golf course,” Reed said. “You can be as technical as you want on the driving range and practical, But once you step on the golf course, you have to be a player. You’re not there trying to figure out a golf swing. I feel like I’ve been doing it a lot early on and in a good part of the year, and now I feel like I’ve settled into sort of how I feel and how I’m supposed to The swing is, and now when I get it outside on the golf course, I can see golf shots instead of trying to see golf swings.”
Whatever the reason, this winning green jacket is going to be seeing plenty of red so far this week.
The story of Nick Taylor from the nineties
Having had a share of that eight-way lead on Thursday, Taylor reached what ended up being the number one hit at the end of Friday after just nine holes. Then it all fell apart for the Canadian.
After the Colonial Linebacker played nine of the five under-30s, the two-time PGA Tour winner struggled to make it to six over-41s at the front. Yikes.
The good news is that even with such a grueling finish, Taylor will be among the top 25 entering the weekend and in good shape to try to score in the first 10 of the top 10 finishes of the season. At 112th on the FedEx Cup score list before this week, he could use one.