After near chip-in, Justin Thomas misses FedExCup playoffs by a shot
Justin Thomas’ body moved all sorts of different ways Sunday on Sedgefield Country Club’s par-4 18th hole.
It just wasn’t enough to move Thomas into the FedExCup top 70 and inside the cutoff for the playoffs.
Thomas had to wait a little longer to find out his postseason fate, however, as the Wyndham Championship went into a weather delay moments after Thomas capped a closing 2-under 68 with a wild final hole and with the leaders through 14 holes.
“I’m kind of sore,” Thomas said afterward. “I didn’t know if it was from my second shot or falling on the ground.”
Thomas bounced around the bubble all day as he began his round with 13 pars and a single birdie, at No. 6, through 14 holes. That’s when he got a 15-footer to drop for eagle at No. 15 to vastly improve his playoff chances. His tee shot at the par-3 16th, though, ballooned in the wind and came up woefully short, leading to a bogey. Still, Thomas walked off the 17th green, having just made par, at No. 70 in projected points.
At No. 18, Thomas hooked his tee shot left and into the pine straw. From 183 yards out, Thomas had to play a vicious hook, which he executed, his body contorting as he spun around on his lead foot. It just wasn’t perfect, as Thomas’ approach ended up just short of the green, about 35 yards from the hole.
“That’s where I put myself and I had to deal with it, and I felt like being in the pine straw was an advantage where I could turn it,” Thomas said. “And putting it there short of the green – when I walked off 17, I looked at the scoreboard, I was projected 70th – so in my head, I’m like, if I get this up and down, you know, hopefully we’re good. But I knew if I made a birdie, I would definitely be good, so I just wanted to give it a chance and I feel like I gave it a pretty good chance.”
Thomas hit his chip aggressively, and his ball bounced hard a couple of times before clanking off the flagstick and staying out of the hole. The near-make sent Thomas to the ground in disbelief.
He’d soon walk up, tap in his putt and begin what would be a three-plus-hour wait, which included just over a two-hour delay. Thomas had never missed the playoffs in eight previous seasons on the PGA Tour, though a down year saw him enter this week No. 79 in points.
“I hope that it all works out because that’s going to haunt me a little bit if not,” Thomas said during the stoppage.
At the time of the delay, Thomas was T-11 and No. 71 in points, just behind No. 70 Ben Griffin, who missed the cut. Thomas had a couple scenarios that could bump him up a position: 1. Lucas Glover, T-1, falling into a three-way tie for second or worse, or 2. A few players at T-11 or better dropping below 11 under and improving Thomas’ points haul.
“I did everything I could,” Thomas said. “It’s completely out of my control unless I want to get in a disguise and try to go mess those guys up.”
Thomas, not in disguise, then watched himself slip to T-12 and Glover go on to win the Wyndham, ending Thomas’ season. Had that chip fallen, he would have advanced.
“Can use adversity as an opportunity to shy away from a challenge, or take it head on,” Thomas tweeted later. “Was a tough season for me, but I actually had fun battling it out and playing golf this week. It’s why we play. Beyond gutted to miss the playoffs, but I’m proud of how hard I fought.”