In-form Thomas ready for US PGA defence

Defending champion Justin Thomas will tee off at the US PGA Championship with memories from last week's WGC win fresh in his mind.

09-Aug-2018 By Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press
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On the eve of his US PGA Championship title defence, Justin Thomas says his confidence levels are at a career-high having battled final round nerves to win last week's WGC-Bridgestone.

Thomas fended off charges from Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Australia's Jason Day to earn a four-shot victory at Ohio's Firestone Country Club.

In an ominous sign to the 156 players competing at Bellerive Country Club this week, Thomas feels he is beginning to figure out how to handle anxiety atop US PGA Tour leaderboards.

The 25-year-old has won nine US Tour events in an already brilliant career that also includes taking out last year's $US10 million FedEx Cup bonus.

"Last week, but I was really nervous going into Sunday," Thomas said.

"I was nervous that someone was going to play well, and I was going to have to play really well to win.

"But I was able to go back to those past experiences, just like the PGA last year when it was anyone's tournament with five holes to play."

Thomas also has experience defending a US Tour title, having won the CIMB Classic in Malaysia in 2015 and 2016.

Thomas credits his idol, 14-time major champion Tiger Woods, for inspiring him to become a prolific winner.

Thomas watched from the gallery at Valhalla Golf Club in his native Kentucky when Woods claimed the 2000 PGA Championship in a play-off.

"I do remember how cool it was, just hearing the roars and how many people and the shots that Tiger was hitting, the putts that he was making," Thomas said.

"Even though I was only seven years old, it just got me motivated; I was like, man, I want to do this."

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