Members of the Thomas clan were present cheering in the gallery today - Mr. and Mrs. Mike J. Thomas, his aunt, cousin, and family friends. He currently sits at -6 (204) after three rounds.
Thomas's opening 305-yard tee shot down the center of the fairway foreshadowed the day's performance. His approach shot finished a club's length left of the pin. Thomas knocked down the putt for a birdie on the first hole. Front nine activities mirrored the dancing in place birdie/bogey shuffle. Back-to-back bogeys on nos. 4 and 5 were followed by another birdie on 6. He shot par the next five holes until the birdie barrage began at no. 12.
"Anytime you shoot four (birdies) in a row, it's awesome," he said. "I hit to about three feet on 12, a foot on 13 and about a 12-footer on 14 and I two-putted on (par 5) 15. They were pretty low stress birdies which is always nice."
Thomas credits a familiar individual for the excellent performance. He said, "My caddie Matt (Killen) and I have understood the best place to putt from. I've gotten it there sometimes when I've made my birdies."
Killen, a Kentucky native like Thomas, and Justin have known each other for years. The comfort level between the two has resulted in success. "He teaches a lot of guys out here," Thomas said. "You want to get someone who knows your game and are able to talk shots with them. He knows my game well enough to where if I'm between something he can give an opinion, which is big. We get along very well. He knows what to say and when not to say something which is a key thing that has worked out well for me."
Amateur or pro events are treated the same. Prior to making the cut at the Travelers Championship, Thomas survived two other PGA tournaments – 2012 Greenbrier Classic and 2009 Wyndam Championship. "No different than any other tournament," Thomas said. "I'm just trying to go out there and make as many birdies as I can. I get motivated to work on my short game out here. These guys are so good chipping and putting. They'll just make you look so dumb, so fast even when they're short sided. They are so good around the greens."
Turning professional is a subject broached, but a decision has not been declared. "Eventually I will turn pro but the Walker Cup is in September and that is a huge goal of mine. Until then I don't really know yet."
As for another performer in the tournament with Bama ties, former Tider Dicky Pride began the third day at -2, even with Thomas. Four bogeys and two birdies resulted in a third round score of 72 (+2). The greens were unkind as putting was an issue for the veteran. He is even par for the tournament (210).
‘BAMA Magazine/BamaMag.com spoke with PGA Master Professional, Mike J. Thomas, Dad of Justin Thomas. The video can be accessed below.
Video edited by John Garcia Jr.