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Thomas admits distraction of top ranking in Match Play loss

67   //    26 Mar 2018, 16:40 IST
Justin Thomas at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

Justin Thomas admitted thinking about the prospect of becoming world number one played a key role in his defeat to Bubba Watson at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Thomas was unbeaten going into his last-four clash with eventual champion Watson and would have supplanted Dustin Johnson at the rankings summit had he progressed to the final.

But the US PGA champion suffered a 3 and 2 loss to Watson before succumbing 5 and 3 to Alex Noren in the third-place matchup.

Explaining the downturn in his fortunes, Thomas said: "I had a really hard time getting focused and being worried about my match as opposed to things that can happen and thinking about potentially this afternoon [Sunday].

"But I just didn't play well and Bubba played really well.

"I haven't had such a hard time not thinking about something so much. And that really sucked. I couldn't stop thinking about it, to be perfectly honest.

"And I think you're constantly getting questions about it with the media. But I need to be mentally stronger than that, and understand that it's just a match.

"But at the end of the day, obviously I didn't play very well, but I definitely didn't give him the match. He made a lot of birdies out there and played well enough to be deserving to be in the final match."

Thomas will tee off at the Masters on April 5 as one of the favourites, but suggested missing out on the top ranking may be a blessing in disguise.

"In the end it might be a good thing going to Augusta without that," Thomas added. "I get to go do what I was going to do and let DJ have all that pressure."

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