A Rough Start, but a Great Day for Justin Thomas at BMW Championship

MEDINAH, In poor health. — At the vary, Justin Thomas had no thought the place the ball used to be going. 5 hours later, he had a proportion of the path file at Medinah.

In the long run, all that mattered Thursday within the BMW Championship used to be taking a just right step towards a very powerful purpose. Thomas already is about for the Excursion Championship subsequent week and the chase for FedEx Cup and its $15 million prize. That’s now not what pursuits him.

He mentioned he didn’t care concerning the cash, including, “It’s about successful tournaments.”

He made his first birdie after hitting a tree at the fourth hollow, leaving him a Five-iron that he hit to two ft. His ultimate birdie used to be a putt from about 60 ft at the fringe from the again of the 16th inexperienced. He did sufficient proper in between for a seven-under-par 65 and a proportion of the lead along Jason Kokrak.

The others who’ve posted 65s at Medinah have been Tiger Woods, Mike Weir and Skip Kendall on the P.G.A. Championships in 1999 and 2006.

Woods gained either one of the ones tournaments. Successful the second one FedEx Cup playoff match could be so much harder.

One week after he withdrew with a light indirect pressure at Liberty Nationwide, Woods may just arrange just a 71 that felt feeble in comparison with everybody else. All however two of the gamers within the 69-man box have been at par or higher on a Medinah path that used to be cushy from bursts of rain previous within the week.

Woods is predicted to want a top-10 end this week to advance to East Lake, the place he’s the protecting champion. After one spherical, he used to be tied for 50th.

“It’s simply now not sharp,” Woods mentioned. “I’m seeking to make adjustments in my swing, and it’s simply now not somewhat there but.”

The excellent news for Woods? He says he didn’t really feel any tightness in his indirect.

“I simply want to blank up my rounds and get going,” he mentioned. “Turns out like the entire box is beneath par.”

That begins with Thomas, who has now not gained for the reason that Global Golfing Championship match at Firestone a 12 months in the past. He wouldn’t have concept such a chance may exist the way in which he warmed up at the vary Thursday morning.

“I most probably would say that I had the worst warm-up I’ve ever had in my lifestyles this morning,” he mentioned.

The purpose heading to the primary tee used to be to search out one thing that will permit him to get round with out doing an excessive amount of injury.

“I’ve had that occur a number of occasions, simply now not somewhat that excessive,” Thomas mentioned. “I’m most often lovely just right at discovering my approach round a golfing path and discovering one thing, however indubitably didn’t be expecting that these days.”

Kokrak does have the Excursion Championship on his thoughts. Along side a chase for the $15 million, simply attending to East Lake comprises a call for participation to the Masters, and he hasn’t ever been. He performed the par 5s in 5 beneath — together with an eagle on No. 10 when he holed a 30-yard shot from the tough — and made just one bogey.

Kokrak, who hasn’t ever gained in 207 begins as a professional at the PGA Excursion, is No. 32 within the FedEx Cup. The highest 30 after this week will advance to the Excursion Championship, the place there shall be a staggered get started in response to par for the overall match.

The chief will get started at 10 beneath. The 30th participant will get started at even par.

The purpose for Kokrak is to get there.

“I considered doing a little number-crunching and seeing what I needed to end, however I believe hanging myself in a just right place to win a golfing event goes to get the task finished,” he mentioned. “I don’t suppose I want to fear about the place I want to end within the event. I’d moderately cross out and take a look at to win.”

The co-leaders had a one-shot lead over Jim Furyk, a 49-year-old former FedEx Cup champion who has now not been again to East Lake in 5 years. Patrick Cantlay, Joel Dahmen, Lucas Glover and Brandt Snedeker have been additionally at 66, whilst the massive crew at 67 integrated Adam Scott, Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa.

Dahmen and Morikawa have a unique outlook.

Morikawa used to be completing up on the College of California, Berkeley, simply over two months in the past and had restricted time simply to take a look at to safe a PGA Excursion card. He did that with a victory on the Barracuda Championship, and together with his runner-up end in Minnesota, he comes into this week at No. 57 with an out of doors shot on the Excursion Championship.

“It’s indubitably a purpose of mine now,” Morikawa mentioned. “Simply because I reached the ones targets for this summer season doesn’t imply I’m going to prevent right here. I’m now not happy with simply finishing my season right here. Clearly, it’s very amusing and I’m thankful to be right here after the win. Nevertheless it doesn’t forestall right here.”

Dahmen, a most cancers survivor who reached the BMW Championship for the primary time in his profession, is No. 63 within the FedEx Cup and mentioned he felt loose.

“I’m to this point out of East Lake,” he mentioned. “In fact, my spouse requested me that previous this week. I believe it might be approach tougher in case you’re in a place the place you need to end like 30th to get into East Lake. You continue to need to grind it out on a daily basis to sneak into that quantity, and then you definitely’re roughly having a look on the quantity. The place for me to get in place to be at East Lake, I principally attempt to win the golfing event.

“East Lake is clearly a purpose, however I’m going to be so into the golfing event and seeking to win a golfing event that East Lake could be a manufactured from that for me.”

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