Justin Thomas stays in control at SBS Tournament of Champions

Author

09 January, 2017

Walker hit a tough pitch to a tight pin on the elevated green to 3 feet for birdie on the par-5 15th, and he almost holed a lob wedge from 78 yards on the final hole for an 8-under 65 that gave him a two-shot lead in the SBS Tournament of Champions.

Matsuyama has played this event just once previously, finishing 3rd in 2015 and like Thomas finished off 2016 with a rush winning four of his last five events.

Thomas was at 18-under 201, and while he was pleased with his score and the lead, he had a chance to build even more separation.

The highlight of his third round was arguably his eagle on the driveable par four 14th. But his shot was a clunker coming out of the short rough, and while he hit a tough pitch to within six feet, he read a fraction too much break in the putt and had to settle for par. His lone bogey of the round came at the par-five No. 15.

"I obviously practiced and prepared a year ago, but I just didn't as much as I should have", Thomas said.

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Thomas finished 21st a year ago on his first trip to the annual event at Kapalua, a full 19 shots behind victor Jordan Spieth. Justin Thomas and Ryan Moore sit atop of the leaderboard as Americans occupy the top five places.

Walker drained a long-range birdie at the first and Reed picked up a shot at the third to briefly make it a four-way tie at the top, only for Thomas to move ahead with a hat-trick of gains from the third.

"Just doesn't have any weaknesses at all in his game", Matsuyama said, per the AP. "We've got to go low tomorrow to be able to catch him".

Brendan Steele had a 67 and was at 13-under 206.


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