U.S. Open leader Thomas looking to 'get over' record start: It's not close to being over!

By Sports Desk September 17, 2020

Justin Thomas enjoyed day one at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot as a five-under 65 secured the clubhouse lead, yet he acknowledged there was plenty of work left to do.

Thomas held a one-stroke lead over Patrick Reed early on as he carded a round he considered one of his best "in a while".

Three straight birdies from the ninth and another at the last took the one-time major winner to the top of the leaderboard, recording the lowest U.S. Open score in the course's history. This is the U.S. Open's sixth visit to Winged Foot.

"It was a good day for me from the start," Thomas said. "I just played really solidly and hit a lot of really quality tee shots.

"Even the few greens I missed, I hit great bunker shots to get par chances. It was just a really, really solid round of golf. It was one of the best I've played in a while from tee to green.

"There were a couple of things here and there that definitely could have been better, but I just made sure that all my misses were in the right spot.

"That's what you have to do at the U.S. Open."

However, Thomas was not entertaining talk he was now in the driving seat for the remainder of the tournament.

He said: "It's helpful with three days left, but it's not even remotely close to being over. As great and fun as the round was, it's over with now and I need to get over it.

"I've got 54 more holes to try to play well and shoot some good scores."

There was particularly satisfaction at shooting so low at Winged Foot, however, a notoriously difficult, at time high-scoring course.

"A 65 is fun no matter where you play, but especially at Winged Foot," Thomas added.

"I was in a really good frame of mind, I was focused, just thinking of my routine and playing every shot, rather than getting ahead of myself.

"It's one of those rounds where the next thing you know, you make a putt on 18 and you're done for the day."

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  • After 477 failed attempts, Bland finally wins on European Tour with British Masters triumph After 477 failed attempts, Bland finally wins on European Tour with British Masters triumph

    Richard Bland finally won a European Tour title at the 478th attempt as the 48-year-old saw decades of persistence pay off at the British Masters.

    The Englishman first appeared on the circuit in 1998 and had three runner-up finishes and a pair of third places to his name across his career before this week, but the first win had proven elusive.

    However, he put that right on Saturday at The Belfry, a closing 66 taking him to 13 under par before Bland held his nerve in a play-off to deny Italian Guido Migliozzi.

    Bland made birdie at the 18th with a putt from almost 30 feet for a six-under 66 to set the clubhouse target, but Migliozzi joined him on that mark by picking up shots at the 15th and 16th holes.

    It would have been a nervy wait for Bland as Migliozzi targeted the birdie in the closing two holes that would have brought him the title, but the 24-year-old could not make it happen as he settled for a 68, triggering the play-off.

    When Migliozzi missed from around 10 feet for par at the first extra hole - the 18th - Bland had the chance to slot the winning putt from close range, and he made no mistake.

    "I've done it," said an emotional Bland on Sky Sports. "My game had been trending in the right way and I'd worked really hard, as you know we've worked so hard on the wedges."

    Interviewed by his coach Tim Barter, Bland, who collects €339,278 for his win, said: "I just drove the ball so well this week. I've gone back to my old driver. Round here - especially for me, I'm not the longest on tour - so I've got to hit fairways and I've probably missed single-digit fairways all week.

    "If I have missed one it's been by a couple of inches. I came off a pretty decent week last week and a top 10 [last month] in Gran Canaria so I knew my game was in decent shape."

    Finland's Mikko Korhonen shared third place on 12 under with England's Dave Coupland and Polish player Adrian Meronk, with another Englishman in Andy Sullivan tied for sixth with South African Dean Burmester.

    Tournament host Danny Willett finished at nine under, the same mark as fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell who was the overnight leader but struggled on the final day, a one-over 73 seeing him slide down the leaderboard to a share of 11th place.

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