Tear earns Thomas FootJoy title
Friday, June 12, 2009
Justin Thomas of Goshen, Ky., finished with his second consecutive 3-under-par 67 to win the FootJoy Boys Invitational and gain an exemption into the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship in August.
Thomas finished at 8-under 272 at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., two shots ahead of both Anthony Paolucci and Tom Lovelady, who each shot 69s in Friday’s final round.
“I really don’t think this whole thing has hit me yet,” Thomas said. “I actually think it hit my mom about five times harder than it hit me.”
Thomas, a 16-year-old rising junior at Saint Xavier High School and No. 57 in the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings, will return to Sedgefield August 20 for the Wyndham Championship, the PGA Tour’s final event before the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
“As soon as I came off the 18th green, my dad just said, ‘All I know is that I’m on the bag for that tournament,’ ” Thomas said. “Not many high school kids have a chance to play in a Tour event, so whether I play good or not, it will just be a great experience.”
Thomas entered the final round 5-under-par for the event and trailing Jordan Spieth – Golfweek’s top-ranked junior – and Ian McConnell (No. 96) by three shots. Spieth made four bogeys before collecting his first birdie at the par-4 ninth. He shot a 3-over 73 to finish fourth while McConnell fell back to T-9 after a final-round 76.
Richard Werenski of South Hadley, Mass., shot a front-nine 33 in the final round and held the lead at 9 under with nine holes to play, but bogeyed Nos. 13 and 15. A triple-bogey 7 on the 18th hole sealed his fate and a fifth-place finish.
Thomas said he saw the scoreboard on the ninth fairway, but tried to put it out of his mind.
“I got to the ninth and realized I was paying more attention to the scoreboard than I was to my shots,” he said. “So I told myself that I just needed to focus and try to get to 9 under.”
Thomas reached that number with birdies on 14, 15 and 17. He fell back to 8 under after he bogeyed the par 4 18th.
“Luckily, by then I had given myself a little bit of a cushion,” he said.
And a berth in a PGA Tour event.