SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Justin Thomas used a blistering start on Saturday to breathe new life into his PGA Championship hopes but the world number one struggled to sustain it in windy conditions at TPC Harding Park that took the shine off his round.
Thomas, who made the cut on the number, started the third round a distant nine shots behind overnight leader Haotong Li but quickly cut that deficit to four after birdies at five of his opening seven holes.
But Thomas made bogeys at his next two holes and then was unable recover and mostly struggled the rest of the way as the wind started to pick up ahead of the afternoon wave.
“I’m pissed off, that’s really the best way to describe it,” said Thomas. “I let a really good round go, and really had a great opportunity to put myself in a good position going into tomorrow. I just didn’t capitalise on the back nine.”
Thomas, who felt he would have a chance this weekend if he could reach 10 under, began the back nine with a birdie but then made two bogeys over his final three holes for a two-under-par 68 that brought him to one under on the week.
The 27-year-old American, who took over top spot in the rankings after his triumph last week in Memphis, said he was most disappointed with his wedge play, which is typically one of the stronger aspects of his game.
“We have a lot of crosswinds and a lot of wind in general and a lot of uneven lies to where you have a lot of factors in there,” said Thomas.
“But as the number one number one player in the world, I would hope that I would be able to adjust to that, and I clearly haven’t and need to just work on it and hopefully find it tomorrow.”
With the wind picking up as the day went on, Thomas knew a couple late birdies would have made a big difference going into Sunday’s final round but a horrendous tee shot at 16 all but ended those hopes.
“I felt like going into that hole four-under for the round, I was trying to get two of those last three,” said Thomas.
“Felt like I would have been in great position going into tomorrow, and did the exact opposite. So, that sucked.”
Reporting by Rory Carroll; Writing by Frank Pingue, editing by Pritha Sarkar
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