Thomas one shot behind leader List heading into Honda final round


Even Justin Thomas admits it. While the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year has won seven times in three years on Tour, the fact that two of them have come in Malaysia and two more in Hawaii has left his resume a bit on the light side.

Winning the Honda Classic on Sunday would go a long way to change that.

Thomas shot a tournament-best 31 on the back nine Saturday to complete a round of 5-under 65, leaving him one shot behind leader Luke List and in a second-place tie with 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson heading into the final round at PGA National Resort.

Photos: Live images from the 2018 Honda Classic

Pairings, tee times for Sunday’s Round 4

“It means a lot to win any golf tournament,” Thomas said. “It would mean more (with) the fact of how prestigious this tournament is and the list of winners (of) this event, and how strong a field it is, how difficult a golf course.”

Somewhat lighter, more predictable winds out of the Southeast resulted in 21 rounds in the 60s Saturday, one of which was a 1-under 69 turned in by Tiger Woods. But that performance, which featured three birdies and two bogeys - both of which came on The Bear Trap’s par-3 holes, Nos. 15 and 17 - dropped Woods from four to seven shots off the pace in a tie for 11th place.

Tiger thinks he has a shot at Honda but Sunday rally seems unrealistic

That left Thomas, 24 and a Jupiter resident, in the final pairing Sunday with List, who has yet to win in 104 starts on Tour.

“I’m playing well right now, so that makes this course a lot easier when you’re playing well,” Thomas said. “This is a golf course that you can’t kind of fake your way around.”

Thomas had six birdies in his round, the last two on both of the par-3 holes on the Bear Trap. He holed on from 15 feet on No. 15 and 14 feet on No. 17.

“To play the Bear Trap 2-under was stealing,” he said. “Hit two really good iron shots in there and a great fairway bunker shot to save an up-and-down (par) on No. 16 as well.

“I felt like if I’d parred those holes I would have had a great chance, but making those birdies will definitely give me a better chance.”

List took the lead on his final shot of the day, a 2-foot birdie putt after he had left his second shot in a greenside bunker. He has been the steadiest of the leaders, making only two bogeys and a double-bogey over the first 54 holes.

“It was just a fun day out there,” List said. “I really enjoyed myself and besides the bogey on No. 17, I played really nice golf.”

List, whose best career results were two seconds and third in smaller events last year, acknowledged he’ll have some nerves trying for his first win.

“But for me, I’m getting a lot better understanding of my tendencies, and that means that knowing the less I do and the less I try, I actually perform better,” he said. “So, that’s something I’ll try to take into tomorrow for sure.”

Simpson had the only bogey-free round among the leaders, posting four birdies for a 4-under 66. He will be in the next-to-last pairing with Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, who had a pair of eagles on his way to a 67. Fleetwood and Jamie Lovemark are tied for fourth, two shots off the lead.

For all of that, Thomas emerged from the day as the betting favorite. A resident of Palm Beach County since joining the Tour in 2015, he’s playing in his fourth Honda Classic, having finished third in 2016 but also missing the cut the other two years.

“I shot a thousand my rookie year,” he said. “I hit it in so many hazards because I wasn’t playing well and it was windy and raining and I was in the bad draw. It was brutal.”

Thomas was the only player to shoot all four rounds in the 60s in 2016 but still finished four shots behind winner Adam Scott. Last year, rounds of 71 and 70 left him one shot off the cut line. He was watching Sunday’s final round on TV when close friend Rickie Fowler opened up a big lead late, and he drove back to PGA National to congratulate Fowler as he walked off the 18th green.

So would Thomas expect Fowler, who missed the cut this time around, to do the same for him?

“I hope I give him the opportunity or the choice to come,” Thomas said. “I’ve got a lot of golf in front of me before I worry about (that). But it would mean a lot.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill’s uniform has not required laundering
Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill’s uniform has not required laundering

White jersey with aqua numbers or aqua jersey with white numbers, it hasn’t mattered for Ryan Tannehill. At the end of the night, after both Miami Dolphins preseason games this year, his jersey has hardly needed laundering. No dirt. No grass. No mud. “Maybe bumped,” Tannehill said Tuesday. “I haven’t been hit, that&rsquo...
FSU defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett owes a lot to Nick Saban
FSU defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett owes a lot to Nick Saban

When you look at Harlon Barnett’s bio, it seems to come out of nowhere. He grew up in Ohio. Played high school football in Ohio. Starred at Michigan State as a hard-hitting defensive back. He then played seven seasons in the NFL, including the first three with the Cleveland Browns. After his career was over and he decided he wanted to get into...
Dolphins WR DeVante Parker working behind scenes to stay on track
Dolphins WR DeVante Parker working behind scenes to stay on track

The Dolphins don’t know whether they’ll have wide receiver DeVante Parker back from a broken finger by the season opener. They’re hopeful, but it might take longer. Either way, he’s not expected to miss much time once the season starts. In order to continue preparing even though he’s being held out of practices and preseason...
Long road to first game for fledgling Keiser football team
Long road to first game for fledgling Keiser football team

The new football complex, which will house weight rooms, training rooms, coaches’ offices and locker rooms, has yet to open. The practice field has yet to be converted into a stadium. Across the Keiser University campus off Military Trail, there are few signs that the Seahawks are about to make history. “This week is actually game week...
Miami Dolphins’ Xavien Howard: ‘I’m out to show everyone I’m a lockdown corner’
Miami Dolphins’ Xavien Howard: ‘I’m out to show everyone I’m a lockdown corner’

Xavien Howard has received near-universal praise for his performance at the end of last season, this spring and through the summer. But after Howard nabbed yet another interception in Friday’s preseason loss at Carolina, he took to Instagram and commented on a photo taken by the Dolphins. “Make em Believe,” Howard wrote. Asked about...
More Stories