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5 things from the first round of 2023 Fortinet Championship

2023 Fortinet Championship

Justin Thomas plays a second shot on the eighth hole during the first round of the 2023 Fortinet Championship at Silverado Resort in Napa, California. (Photo: Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)

Justin Thomas is Mr. Positive these days.

He’s positive his game is close, he’s positive he’s going to get back to the winner’s circle soon and he’s positive he’s going to keep grinding away to be the player he was and knows he can be again.

Thursday’s opening round of the Fortinet Championship was a step in the right direction as he posted a 3-under 69 despite hitting just 3 of 14 fairways at Silverado Resort’s North Course.

“Today wasn’t a day with how I hit it I was going to shoot 6 or 7 under,” he conceded. “I just needed to make sure that I managed a decent score, and 3 under with how I feel like I hit it is a great thing.”

Mr. Positive said he’s “in a great head space,” too.

“At least I was today. I just was very patient. I was very pleased and happy with how quickly I felt I got into it and focused,” he said. “I think sometimes after some time off it’s hard for me to get back into it, but I didn’t feel very competitively rusty. I just, I enjoyed it and I was very engaged and focused on what I was doing, I just wasn’t exactly doing it how I wanted to. But I still stayed positive and just kept doing the best I could.”

Thomas made birdies at Nos. 6 and 8 before making his lone bogey of the day at the ninth to shoot 34 on the front and added two birdies on the back nine at 12 and 14. Thomas was playing for the first time since the Wyndham Championship on Aug. 6 after missing the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

“A big kind of goal I had today was try to step on that first tee and hit that first shot like I’ve been playing for months, and haven’t really taken any time off competitively. I felt like I did that and yeah, so that was a good thing, for sure,” he said.

Keeping with his positive talk, Thomas said he managed his game well despite missing fairways – he ranked T-146 in fairways hit in the first round.

“I didn’t hit particularly well, especially the front nine, but kind of kept searching, kept fighting,” he said. “I felt like I was close, and some of those drives I was just missing left.”

Thomas headed to the range with caddie Bones to test a driver shaft he has been toying with and said how his range session went would likely determine whether he stuck with his gamer or made a change for the second…


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