Justin Thomas seeing ‘light at end of tunnel’ ahead of US PGA title defence

Justin Thomas says he is starting to see “a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel” as he heads into his US PGA title defence.

Both of Thomas’ major victories so far have come at the US PGA – 2017 and 2022 – but he has arrived at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester following a first missed cut in eight Masters appearances last month.

The 30-year-old American’s highest finish anywhere this year was fourth at the Phoenix Open, with the Valspar Championship providing Thomas’ only other top-10 result.

He is a 20-1 shot to land a third US PGA crown, although he was encouraged by his display at the recent Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina.

“How you learn is failure and negatives, and I feel like I’ve had a great opportunity for a lot of learning the past couple of months this year,” Thomas said.

“I am starting to see a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel.

“There are going to be days where 70 might be the best that I have that day, but it’s sure better than 71, or 75 might be the best I have that day, but it’s better than 76. That’s just kind of how I have always been taught.

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“How I described it for a couple months is, I’ve never felt so far and so close at the same time.

“That is a very hard thing to explain, and it’s also a very hard way to try to compete and win a golf tournament.

“That’s how you get out of it, just playing your way out of it and hitting the shots when you want to and making those putts when you need to.

“Then your confidence builds back up, and next thing you know you don’t even remember what you were thinking in those times.

“I felt like I showed a lot of really good signs in Charlotte (Wells Fargo).”

Thomas played a practice round on Monday, and his first impressions of Oak Hill backed up what he has been told.

“I came out (on Sunday), just with wedges and putter and walked all 18 holes and just hit chips and putts around the greens,” he said.

“I actually played the golf course (on Monday) in its entirety, and it’s everything that I had heard about. It’s a tough test.”