After rolling 14 feet, four inches and into the cup on Medinah’s 18th green Sunday –sealing Justin Thomas’ BMW Championship victory and sending his career PGA Tour win total into double-digits –JT’s Pro V1x golf ball took one more short, but sweet, journey.
Soon after that final putt dropped, Justin pulled the ball from his pocket and without hesitation sent it flying into his father's hands. To be sure, the effort was well played, adding to the week's list of successful up-and-downs. “I just flipped it to him,”Justin said. The delivery is instinctive, at this point, more than 135 victories later, with Mike Thomas in possession of a Titleist from each of his son’s wins dating back to elementary school. This particular Pro V1x, marked with Justin’s customary four University of Alabama-inspired red dots around the play number, will join the collection on display in the pro shop at Harmony Landing Country Club in Goshen, Kentucky, where Mike is the head PGA Professional.
Less than 24 hours after lifting the trophy at the BMW Championship, and pushing his way to the top of the FedExCup Playoffs entering this week’s finale, Justin gave Team Titleist a call to talk about his 10th PGA Tour victory and the swings he'll remember most –half of them, to no surprise, from his course-record 61 on Saturday:
Round 4, No. 13 (Par 3, 248 yards), Tee Shot:
Feeling the pressure of fellow Titleist staffer Patrick Cantlay cutting into his lead, Thomas hit what he called “one of the best golf shots, like overall golf shots I've hit in a really long time.”With his MB 5-iron, JT played for “a little bit of a cut,”and let the wind take it right of the hole, coming to rest 14 feet, 9 inches from the cup. He made it for birdie.
“The 5 iron that I hit on Sunday on 13 was one of the most flush shots I've hit in a long time. It was a pretty pressure situation at that point. It was just the sound that it made and like a really nice shallow divot. It just was pure. A long iron makes a lot different sound on a good iron shot than like a 9 iron, just because you're not as steep. But it was just a really good, shallow divot and was just the perfect ball flight. It was nice.”
Round 4, No. 12 (Par 4, 469 yards), Fourth Shot:
“The putt that I hit on 12 yesterday for par was probably the most important put that I made all week. It was huge,”said Thomas, who plays a Scotty Cameron Futura X5 model.
“It was about a 15 footer up hill, a little bit right then left. Patrick had already made par so the lead would've gone down to two again if I would've missed it. The greens were quite a bit slower yesterday from the rain, and I struggled to get the ball to the hole. I kind of told myself to hit it and just made it right in the middle."
Round 3, No. 16 (Par 4, 485 yards), Second Shot:
From 179 yards on the left side of the fairway, JT pulled his Titleist MB 8-iron — the same club he used to ace No. 16 this year on Masters Sunday –and played for a slight cut. His Pro V1x landed a few yards in front of the hole, took two small hops, checked and rolled into the hole for eagle. “There’s something about that club,”Thomas said.
“I know that if I strike the ball properly then I always have a pretty good idea of how it's going to react. If we're being real picky, it probably landed like a yard farther than we wanted. We’re trying to land it at like (four yards) short. But obviously it panned out just fine.”
Round 3, No. 14 (Par 5, 603 yards), Fourth Shot:
The longest birdie drought of JT’s Saturday 61 (3 holes) ended with a 22-yard chip-in from a tricky lie in the rough left of the 14th green. With little green to work with, Thomas opened the face on his Vokey 60.12 K grind and lofted his Pro V1x into the air. The ball settled quickly a couple yards fromn the pin and rolled in.
“The chip-in on 14 was nice with my 60. That K Grind is great in pretty much every condition. I was short sided, but with the green being that soft, I was able to just lob it up in the air and let it land and roll.”
Round 3, No. 10 (Par 5, 577 yards), Second Shot:
With 259 to the pin, JT took aim with his trusty 915Fd 18-degree fairway. He launched it high, twirled his club then marched down the fairway, a clear signal he’d made the swing he wanted. The ball landed about 25 feet in front of the hole, hopped and released to two feet, 11 inches, for a tap-in eagle.
“That 5-wood was really, really good. The wind was a little off the left and I just kind of slided it in there to a couple feet. To start the day, every shot that I was hitting was pretty much how I envisioned it or how I wanted it. So when you get going like that, you just kind of want to keep the hammer down.”
Round 2, No. 15 (Par 4, 320 yards), Tee Shot:
JT said he hit “three really good 3-woods”on 18 the final three rounds, but the most memorable came on Friday afternoon –when he roped his Titleist TS3 15-degree fairway 298 yards down the fairway, 23 yards to the hole, leaving him an easy up-and-down for birdie.
“That one Friday on 15 was really, really sweet. I mean, it was just an absolute bullet that probably went 20 yards off the ground, just a little low cut and it rolled up there almost on the green.”