Player Diary: Alabama's Justin Thomas (Part 3)
Wow, what a past couple of weeks.
I got back from Antalya, Turkey, last night at 12:30 am as Chris Williams, Steven Fox, and myself all played in the World Amateur Team Championship (WATC). It was truly one of the coolest events I have ever been a part of. The traveling part was difficult as I had four connecting flights.
The WATC had 72 countries playing, and the event takes place every two years. It was an honor to be chosen for the team. Although we were looking forward to the experience, we felt we brought a very good team to compete with. Between the No. 1 amateur in the world in Chris Williams, and Steven Fox, who is the U.S. Amateur champ, and myself, we really felt like we had a great chance to win if we played well. The courses were great; Cornelia was a very narrow, short course where every shot had the possibility of a lost ball. In fact, my first shot of the tournament resulted in an unplayable. Antalya Golf Club was my favorite of the two courses we played. It was a fairly narrow course as well, but not as much trouble if you missed the fairways compared to Cornelia.
Unfortunately the tournament had to be shortened to 54-holes because of weather, but USA ended up getting the victory. It was one of the coolest feelings ever hearing our national anthem being played at the closing ceremonies with gold medals around our neck after winning. Williams was our top-finisher narrowly missing medalist honors by shooting 14-under, 200 for three days and finished in solo second. Fox had a good week as well shooting 6-under, 208 and finished tied 10th. As for myself, I shot 207, 7-under, and finished in a tie for 7th. I thought it was pretty cool to see all three of us on the team finish in the top-10. It was such an honor to be apart of a victorious Team USA with Fox and Williams, and our captain Jim Vernon. We set 18-, 36- and 54-hole scoring records as well. The Eisenhower Trophy was gigantic, as we found out after numerous pictures with it. It truly was a week I will never forget.
I would like to thank the USGA and captain Jim Vernon for everything they did for us the past week while in Turkey and the amount of work they put in to the event to make the week possible.
Now it is back to reality as I am extremely jet lagged, and back at school. I missed my teammates while in Turkey and looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with them. Most importantly, I am very excited about eating some food I really enjoy.
We start back up with our home tournament, the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate in Birmingham, Ala., early next week. We play 36 holes on Monday, then 18 holes Tuesday. It’s been a while since a school event for us, so I think I speak for everybody when I say we are eager to get back into the tournament mind frame.