After a Saturday 64 catapulted Justin Thomas into position at the Players Championship, Thomas had a simple explanation for his fine play.
“I just know that I have to stay patient out here because you can make a lot of birdies, and hitting driver well is helping,” he said, before later adding. “You never know when a run is coming.”
Like four in a row to start his round on Saturday. Or a little birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie stretch on Nos.9 through 12 Sunday at TPC Sawgrass, propelling Thomas to the lead – and eventually the win. Key to his run was finding the fairway on the par-5 11th then flushing a 4-iron from 232 yards that nestled 19 feet from the hole, which Thomas made for the 3.
That 4-iron is Titleist’s T100 model. Thomas uses a split set of irons that include the 4-iron as well as the company’s 620 MB irons for his 5- through 9-iron. The grips are Golf Pride’s Tour Velvet. The 620 CBs have a distinct look Thomas prefers.
“I use irons with no offset,” Thomas told Golf Digest in 2019. “Ever since I saw a set about six or seven years ago, I’ve loved the look at address of them. The clean look from the shaft down to the hosel is just awesome. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to use an iron with offset again. They just look so nice.”
Thomas ranked only T-25 in greens in regulation, hitting 53 of 72 greens, but he was stellar on the weekend hitting 32 of his final 36, including all 18 Sunday.
Thomas is also one of the best drivers of the ball in the game when he’s on. Thomas produced 21 birdies and two eagles for the week, playing the par 5s in 14-under-par. Thomas uses a Titleist TS3 driver with a Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60TX shaft, and that club set him up nicely on many of the longer holes and on his final birdie on the par-5 16th that proved to be the difference, he relied on, well, a reliable club – his Titleist 915Fd 5-wood.
With 224 yards into the wind, Thomas hoisted the shot up in the air and watched it safely find the left side of the green. “I don’t dislike the new woods at all, I think they’re great,” said Thomas. “But with the 5-wood, I just had an issue that it was too hot and went too far. I was flying it 260 to 270 yards and I needed a club to go less than that in the air. That’s the reason I have it in the bag and like it.” He liked it again when he roasted a rope hook off the 18th tee as well.
The solid work off the tee and into the green gave Thomas a whopping plus 12.659 strokes gained/tee-to-green for the week. That ranked first for the week and was good enough to put him first on the leaderboard – securing the $US2.7 million first-place prize.
What Justin Thomas had in the bag at the 2021 Players Championship
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist TS3, 9.5 degrees
3-wood: Titleist TS3, 15 degrees
5-wood: Titleist 915Fd, 18 degrees
Irons (4): Titleist T100; (5-9): Titleist 620 MB; (PW): Titleist Vokey SM7
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52 1/2 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM8 (57, 60 1/2 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist X5