PGA champ Justin Thomas commits to play in Honda Classic

and Contact ReporterSun Sentinel

Justin Thomas, fourth in the world rankings and reigning PGA champion, has committed to play in the upcoming Honda Classic.

Thomas, 24, a resident of Jupiter, is coming off a breakthrough season in which he won five tour events and was the FedEx Cup champion en route to being named Player of the Year.

"It's something I know how hard it is to do because of how the deep the Tour is right now and how many great players there are and how guys are winning three, four, five times a year every year," Thomas said. "It's something that's going to be tough to continue or tough to replicate in terms of last year. But I'm definitely going to give it my best."

Thomas will be looking for more impact in this year’s Honda Classic, Feb. 19-25, after missing the cut last year at PGA National.

Two years ago he was in contention in the final round until a double-bogey on No. 17 ended his bid and he finished four shots behind winner Adam Scott.

Thomas started 2017 with back-to-back wins at the SBS Tournament of Champions and Sony Open in Hawaii before struggling in three February events. He was 1-over par after two rounds at the Honda, which wasn’t good enough to advance to the weekend.

Thomas hit his stride later in a season that saw him move up from No. 22 in the world to as high as No. 3 during 2017 before settling in his current spot at No. 4.

He joined Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth as the only players since 1960 to capture five wins in a season, including a major, before the age of 25.

In 25 starts, he recorded a Tour-best 12 top-10 finishes (tied with Spieth) with 19 made cuts. Those performances led him to the Arnold Palmer Award as the Tour’s leading money-winner ($9,921,560).

The PGA Championship victory was obviously the highlight. He used a final-round 3-under 68 (including six birdies and three bogeys) to finish at 8-under and win by two strokes over Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed and Louis Oosthuizen at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte.

Now the question is what Thomas will do for an encore.

"I know I'm constantly going to get reminded of what I did last year versus this year and whether it's better or whether it's worse," Thomas said. "The hardest part of the season is going to be staying in the moment and recognizing that it's a new year. It's a new opportunity for great things, and I just need to continue to work hard."

Tickets for the Honda Classic on sale at thehondaclassic.com or by calling 1-844-846-6328.

cldavis@sun-sentinel.com; Twitter @CraigDavisRuns; here on Facebook

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
39°