"I saw my freshman English teacher today" - Justin Thomas praises the "enjoyable" experience of playing in his hometown

2024 PGA Championship - Round Three
Justin Thomas, 2024 2024 PGA Championship - Round Three

Justin Thomas has had this week the rare privilege of playing a Major championship in his hometown. Thomas grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, the city that hosts Valhalla Golf Club, where the final round of the 2024 PGA Championship is being played this Sunday, May 19.

For professional golfers, it is very unusual to play a tournament as the "local player", let alone a Major championship. After his third round at Valhalla, Justin Thomas said in a press conference that the experience has been very special for him.

"This week has exceeded all my expectations," Thomas said. "It's been better, it's been more fun, it's been more enjoyable than anything I ever thought or could have imagined. I'm very very excited for tomorrow and it should be a lot of fun but I'm pretty bummed that the week is almost over." [0:18 - 0:37]
"I saw my freshman year English teacher today," he added. "I saw a teammate of mine, a guy that I drove to school with every day in high school... There’s just a lot of people I’m seeing that I didn’t necessarily (think I'd see), but it’s also where I grew up, so I guess it’s a part of it." [3:13 - 4:06]

This is Justin Thomas' first time playing an official professional tournament at Valhalla, but it's not his first experience at the venue. A seven-year-old Thomas was in the crowd that watched Tiger Woods win the 2000 PGA Championship right there.

Fourteen years later, Thomas was again in the crowd that saw Rory McIlroy lift the Wanamaker Trophy at Valhalla. Just three years later, Thomas himself won the same trophy at Quail Hollow.

How has Justin Thomas fared at his hometown venue?

Justin Thomas played the first three rounds of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club with scores in the 60s. He carded five birdies and three bogeys on Thursday, with an even par score of 69.

Justin Thomas, 2024 PGA Championship, Valhalla Golf Club (Image via Getty).
Justin Thomas, 2024 PGA Championship, Valhalla Golf Club (Image via Getty).

He then scored two consecutive 67s, with five birdies and a bogey on Friday, and six birdies and two bogeys on Saturday. During the fourth round, he has achieved one birdie with no bogeys through the first five holes, to temporarily sit T8 with a score of 11 under.

Thomas has been among the best players of the 2024 PGA Championship in the tournament in the short game, with a 'Stroke Gained (SG): Around the green' of 5.337 (ranked 4th) and a greens in regulation percentage of 78.33%.

The opposite has happened to him with his putting, an area in which he has negative numbers at Valhalla. His 'SG: Putting' is -2.726 (72nd) and he uses 1.81 putts per greens in regulations (72nd).

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