Help wanted: Justin Thomas needs a caddie
ADA, Mich. – Help wanted: Justin Thomas needs a caddie.
The way he’s playing, however, he may not need one.
Thomas fired his local caddie after Saturday’s practice round for the U.S. Junior Amateur, a decision made easier after the looper didn’t arrive until Thomas’ group was on the second tee at Egypt Valley Country Club. The caddie then dropped his clubs. And towels. And balls.
“Not a good start,” Thomas said. “I couldn’t have felt worse. I didn’t want to do it, but people kept telling me that this week isn’t about him. I carry my own bag every week in the summer, and it’s not that big of a deal.”
It’ll become even less of an issue if he continues this torrid start.
After opening with 69, Thomas couldn’t get anything going Tuesday – until he drained four birdies and chipped in for eagle on his inward nine to shoot 6-under 30, tying the lowest nine-hole score ever at the Junior Amateur and taking the clubhouse lead among early starters.
Yep, Thomas was all the craze at Egypt Valley ... for about 30 minutes.
Then 15-year-old Gavin Hall signed for a 62, the lowest 18-hole score ever at the Junior Amateur and the second-lowest at a USGA event. Then Jordan Spieth appeared on the verge of making history, only to fall short. Then Curtis Thompson surprised everyone and took medalist honors, after a bogey-free 66.
Nonetheless, it’s an auspicious start for Thomas, who, remarkably, has failed to qualify for the Junior Amateur the past two years. A simple change in his putting address around the turn Tuesday prompted that string of birdies, and after a quick lunch, he was headed back to the putting green.
“That’s been the story of my past two years,” Thomas said. “I’ve been putting so well but nothing’s going in. I just keep waiting for when they’re all just going to start falling in, and hopefully that happens this week.”
• • •
Jacob Stockl, of Clark, N.J., was disqualified Tuesday after signing for an incorrect scorecard. Stockl finished 36 holes at 5-over 149, right on the projected cut line, but approached USGA officials before the start of a 12-for-7 playoff and said there was a mistake in his posted score. Stockl had signed for a 5 on the par-4 18th, when he actually made a 6.
• • •
The 36-hole, stroke-play cut fell at 5-over 149. Scottie Scheffler, Andrew Fogg, Aaron Kunitomo, Brandon Ng, Chelso Barrett, Joey Petronio and Andrew Ariens advanced out of an 11-for-7 playoff.