Thomas eyes ‘three­p­eat’ in Malaysia

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

ONLY weeks after cap­ping his bril­liant sea­son with the $10 mil­lion bonus as FedExCup cham­pion, Justin Thomas heads back to his happy hunt­ing ground at the CIMB Clas­sic, seek­ing a ‘’three­p­eat’’ of ti­tles in Malaysia.

Much has changed for 24-yearold Thomas since his last trip to TPC Kuala Lumpur, when he was still an un­proven, if highly re­garded, tal­ent com­ing off his rookie sea­son.

A three-stroke win to de­fend his cham­pi­onship un­der­lined his pedi­gree, how­ever, and was the spring­board for a stel­lar cam­paign fea­tur­ing five wins, a maiden ma­jor ti­tle and last month’s FedExCup tri­umph.

Once known as “Jor­dan Spi­eth’s friend”, the Louisville, Ken­tucky-born golfer re­turns to South­east Asia as the PGA Tour’s player of the year and in the wake of an im­pres­sive de­but for the United States in their dom­i­nant Pres­i­dents Cup win.

Re­peat­ing his 2016-17 hero­ics will be a stiff chal­lenge but the co-sanc­tioned CIMB Clas­sic could of­fer the per­fect plat­form for an­other pro­duc­tive sea­son for the world num­ber four.

That is, of course, if fa­tigue can be kept at bay.

Thomas has barely had time to pause for breath after a fre­netic fin­ish to the cam­paign and will take a proper break only after play­ing next week’s CJ Cup, South Korea’s first PGA Tour­sanc­tioned event.

“It’s go­ing to be a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent this year, just in terms of ev­ery­thing that’s hap­pened and kind of the lack of prepa­ra­tion I’ll prob­a­bly get as op­posed to years prior,” Thomas said last week.

Thomas will also be up against a qual­ity field at the PGA Tour’s sec­ond event in the 2017-18 calendar, in­clud­ing Ja­pan’s world num­ber three Hideki Mat­suyama, who he pipped for the cir­cuit’s player of the year award.

Twenty-five-year-old Mat­suyama, an­other sparkling young tal­ent, was run­ner-up be­hind Thomas in Malaysia last year in a break­out sea­son boast­ing three wins and two top-five fin­ishes at the ma­jors.

Like most of his In­ter­na­tional team mates, he had a for­get­table Pres­i­dents Cup, how­ever, and was un­well upon re­turn­ing to Ja­pan.

“I just took the week off. To­day’s round was re­ally the first time I’ve picked up a club since the Pres­i­dents Cup, but hope­fully I can find my game quickly and some­how make it in­ter­est­ing on Sun­day,” he said at TPC Kuala Lumpur on Tues­day.

Apart from Thomas, eight other ma­jor win­ners are in the restricted field of 78 at the $7 mil­lion tour­na­ment, in­clud­ing Amer­i­cans Kee­gan Bradley, Ste­wart Cink and Ja­son Dufner, and a trio of South Africans in Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. – Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.