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After shooting a 4-under 68 in Thursday’s opening round, Justin Thomas erupted for a bogey-free, 9-under 63 on Friday at the CJ Cup, setting the 36-hole tournament scoring record.
“I played well. I didn’t do anything unbelievably,” Thomas said. “It was just a very stress-free day.”
It’s been fairly stress-free for Thomas since returning from the wrist injury that gave him issues earlier this year. He notched a win two months ago at the BMW Championship, and is again playing the kind of golf reminiscent of when he ascended to the No. 1 player in the world.
Look no further than his performance Friday. Thomas began his day on fire out of the gate, carding four consecutive birdies. He would add another at the par-4 eighth to turn in 5-under 31. The back nine was no different, as Thomas notched four more birdies, including a tap-in at the 18th after narrowly missing an eagle putt that would have tied the course record.
“Obviously playing well, that makes it stress free, but I just kind of kept the ball in play off the tee, hit some good irons. I think I hit every green and made a couple putts early,” Thomas said. “And then the back nine, I got a few close to the holes where those birdies came easier. So it just was a very easy 63 if you can somehow say that, but hopefully we’ll be able to keep some of that going for the weekend.”
This was Thomas’ second 63 at Nine Bridges in the tournament’s brief history. In 2017, he fired one in the opening round and would later go on to outlast Marc Leishman in a playoff for his seventh PGA Tour victory. That one, though, sticks out more to Thomas.
“I would say that one, the one two years ago, is probably better. It was quite a bit windier if I remember correctly,” Thomas said. “So, I mean, they’re both good, but I would say that one was maybe a little bit better.”