Justin Thomas posted a third-day 67 and will take a three-shot lead into Sunday’s final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Thomas finished his day at Firestone with three bogeys offset by six birdies, highlighted by a clean nine-hole stretch which included five of those gains (Nos. 6, 8, 10, 12, 14).
After his round, Thomas, the No. 3 ranked golfer in the world, took questions from the media. Here are a few of the more interesting.
THOMAS ON FIRESTONE
1. Justin, speaking of good players up at the top, you’ve got yourself, Jason Day’s up there, Rory’s up there, and then you mentioned the course is speeding up and drying out a little bit. Does it have a little bit of a major championship feel right now?
JUSTIN THOMAS: I just think this golf course in general kind of has a major championship feel. This place could host a major in a heartbeat if it all worked out.
If these fairways — first off, if the fairways were firm, it would be impossible because you couldn’t hold them. I mean, you get U.S. Open rough and these fairways fast and firm, it wouldn’t be very fun, honestly, because it’s pretty hard to hit fairways. Which, by the way, Kyle Stanley hit 11 fairways today. I will never know how that’s possible out here, and one of them he hit in the first cut.
It’s just such a hard driving course. When it gets firm and fast, I think my first year I played here it was like that a little bit. It can be get pretty fun out there because, like you said, it does have a little bit of that major feel.
THOMAS TALKS TEAM
2. You just said that your caddie — you were expecting from him to agree with you. So how often it happens that you rely on your caddie or your own validation?
THOMAS: Yeah, I rely on him a lot. My dad, Jimmy and myself had a good talk on — was that Tuesday, Monday? No, Tuesday. Tuesday we went out and played. I played by myself, walked nine holes. We had a big talk just to kind of what — to make sure everybody on the team was doing what they needed to do for us to play our best. That’s myself included.
I asked them if I need to practice anything better, if I need to become better in one, if they didn’t see maybe hard enough effort from me, if my attitude wasn’t as good as it could be.
But also I said the same to my dad. I’m like, ‘hey, dad, I need you to do some of these things,’ and Jimmy, ‘I need you to step in a little bit more.’
We had a couple instances at the British where we learned from. They were tough, but we learned from them. Because of that, you know, we kind of — I think that’s good to have every once in a while.
I rely on him a lot. He’s a huge, huge part of this team. He’s the other half of me. So he’s been great this week. I told him that on 18 that he did a great job today. We talked through 16. We were just kind of at a weird number where 3-wood was too much and 5-wood wasn’t enough. I could have cut a 3-wood, but because I was on the downhill slope, he was like, ‘let’s not do that.’ Which we could have done that yesterday and not hit it in the water, but we learned from it and hopefully we’ll continue to do so.
THOMAS’ GRANDPA CRACKS HIM UP
3. Has your grandfather ever been at a tournament you’ve won?
THOMAS: Yes… He was at my first professional win in Columbus. The Web.com.
…And secondly, whatever times you spend with him and you’ve got a golf club in your hand, does he ever — I don’t want to say give lessons, but does he ever weigh in?
THOMAS: I think he used to. He doesn’t as much anymore. I think he sees that my dad and I have a pretty good thing going on.
He cracks me up. He just showed up on the range today. I have no idea how he got in. I don’t know how he got a seat. He’s just sitting there on the range.
He had ice cream and a Dr. Pepper for breakfast before I played yesterday and the Kisner and Chappell kids were all mad because they couldn’t have ice cream for breakfast.
He’s just — he’s awesome. I love spending time with my grandma and grandpa. They crack me up just listening to them talk. So it’s cool having them here and it would be really, really special to win with them here.