Justin Thomas still in French Open chase despite odd drop situation late

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Justin Thomas still in French Open chase despite odd drop situation late

Euro Tour

Justin Thomas still in French Open chase despite odd drop situation late

PARIS – Justin Thomas didn’t get the breaks when he needed them in the second round of the $7 million HNA French Open, but he’s still in contention to win his first European Tour title.

The World No. 2 returned a second consecutive 1-under 70 around Le Golf National, this year’s Ryder Cup venue. He’s 2 under in a tie for fifth place, four shots off the lead held by Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult.

Welshman Bradley Dredge is second on 5 under. Jon Rahm and England’s Chris Wood share third on 3 under.

Thomas could be a lot closer to the lead if not for a bizarre incident at the par-4 17th hole.

Thomas double bogeyed the hole when his wedge shot flew over the green into deep rough. A walking scorer stepped on the ball and Thomas was given free relief. European Tour referee Mats Lanner made Thomas drop the ball five times before he was happy with the drop. Thomas hacked out onto the fringe of the green and took three more shots.

“I’ve never had to drop a ball five times before,” Thomas said. “But I know the rules of golf. I was going to keep dropping until I got it right.”

“I had 139 yards to the green and I hit pitching wedge and it’s gone about 160,” Thomas said. “I don’t know how.”

It was the only blemish on Thomas’ card.

“It was one of the better rounds I’ve had in a while,” he said. “I could have shot 3 or 4 under. I had total control of my ball, drove it beautifully, hit some really, really quality iron shots. The greens are a little bumpy in the afternoon, so that made it difficult to make some putts, but I stayed patient and was able to make a couple there. Just had one mistake on 17. I didn’t hit a bad shot. I just kind of had a freaky little wind switch there and the ball went 20 yards farther.

“I’m excited. I’m in a good spot. Obviously not as far up as I’d like to be, but that being said, only four shots back with two days to go. It’s very doable.”

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