Fresh off his win at Kapalua, Justin Thomas blitzed the field in round one of the Sony Open. Starting on the back nine, he made the turn with a 6-under 29, putting the world on 59 watch . Following the 29 with three birdies in his next four holes made the score look inevitable, but his momentum stalled out with four consecutive pars. Thomas entered his final hole of the day, the par-5 9th, where he needed an eagle to break 60. There, the young star’s drive found the fairway bunker, but he hit a great approach shot inside of 15’, leaving it for 59. He calmly knocked it in to become the youngest PGA Tour player to shoot a sub-60 round and just the 9th to ever do so.
While Thomas’ round was scintillating, the tournament is hardly over. Just 3 shots back of JT is the former Georgia Bulldog Hudson Swafford at 8-under and the generally unlikable Rory Sabbatini.
Think JT’s sub-60 round would have never happened back in the day? Skratch wanted to see how some pros would handle “outdated” equipment, so they had Champions Tour legend TA3 test them out with Trackman data.
Save the drama for your momma
After one round at the European Tour’s 2017 SA Open, it looks like Rory McIlroy’s new equipment adjustment period will be short. The Irish star fired an opening-round 67 to sit 1 shot back of co-leaders Trevor Fisher and Keith Horne (not to be mistaken with the 90’s University of Utah basketball star, Keith Van Horn).
McIlroy made bigger headlines when he said that he is unlikely to play in the 2020 Olympics. Complaints are already rolling in about his personal decision, with still three years to go. Cart, meet horse.
The torture is over
After starting a tournament 6-over-par through 6 holes, most golfers would have packed it in. Instead, Web.com Tour veteran Kyle Thompson stayed calm, cool and collected throughout the difficult conditions in the Bahamas, salvaging an opening 76 despite his disastrous start. From then on, Thompson was fantastic from tee to green, and his putter was spectacular. The 37-year-old journeyman carded 3 consecutive 70’s to win the Web.com Tour opener by two shots over Andrew Yun and Nicholas Thompson. Kyle Thompson was the only man to finish under par in the brutal conditions, earning his 5th career Web.com Tour title and getting the 2017 season off to a great start.
Ask an Architect
It’s time for our January edition of “Ask an Architect”. With so many great questions, we broke this month’s into two parts. Check out the five courses Ian Andrew would play the rest of his life, which architect Trey Kemp thinks is the most underappreciated and much more. Part 1 - Part 2.
Talkin’ college golf
I’m excited to announce our new podcast, dedicated to college and amateur golf, with Andy Hill. For his inaugural episode, Andy talks to Arizona State men’s golf coach, Matt Thurmond, about Arizona State’s program, how they are coping with the loss of Jon Rahm and Max Rottluff, and where he sees the team heading. Check it out on our website or Soundcloud.
The great heist: Shackleford details Golf Digest’s plan to expand its course rater program and the big money associated with it.
Yes we hyped this shirt last week but c’mon, now a member of the 59 club, get your Justin Thomas-inspired t-shirt today.
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