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With a number of big names in the field, Justin Thomas needed a big putt to get near the top of the leaderboard during the first round of the abrdn Scottish Open.
Thomas holed a 90-foot eagle putt en route to a 65 in North Berwick, Scotland, and he sits a single stroke off the pace after the opening day of action.
On the par-5 7th hole, Thomas hit a long, winding putt that dropped, helping him fire a 32 on the front at a surprisingly forgiving Renaissance Club. Thomas closed out the round with birdies on two of the final two holes and trails only Jack Senior, who opened with a 64.
Thomas said he felt the course was even more there for the taking, but he enjoyed a relatively calm opening day.
“Bogey-free made it pretty stress-free. I was a little upset or disappointed with some of the iron shots I hit, felt I could have hit them closer, ” he said. “But it’s nice to play that last hole as well as I did to hopefully generate some momentum.”
The Rolex Series tournament, which features larger purses than many of the European Tour events, has attracted a number of top names. Lee Westwood is also at 6 under while Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Ian Poulter and Ryan Palmer are among a thick pack two off the lead. Others in solid position after the opening round include Xander Schauffele (4 under), and Tyrrell Hatton (2 under). Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Billy Horschel all shot 70 and sit six off the lead.
The wind was not much of a factor during the first round but it’s expected to pick up as the week progresses.
While Thomas hasn’t been slumping, it’s been an unusually lukewarm stretch for the player who sits third in the Official World Golf Ranking and No. 6 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. He hasn’t cracked the top 10 in any of his last eight starts since winning The Players Championship, and he missed the cut at the PGA Championship on Kiawah Island, shooting a pair of 75s in the process.
When asked if he was hoping to face tougher conditions in preparation for next week’s British Open at Royal St. George’s, Thomas insisted he wasn’t thinking about next week.
“I don’t care,” Thomas said. “As long as I’m holding the trophy at the end of the week, I’m pretty pleased with that preparation for The Open.”