Justin Thomas didn’t leave anything out on the course on Sunday in his quest for a spot in the FedEx Cup playoffs. A furious charge up the leaderboard ended with one of the more chaotic holes of his career. As the Wyndham Championship ended, Thomas finished the season in the worst possible position — 71st, one outside of the playoff cut line — but tried his best to find the positives in a dismal ending.
“Fought as hard as I possibly could,” Thomas said after the round. “That’s kind of what I’ve done my whole life, my whole career and I didn’t want to stop here.”
Thomas came into the week ranked 79th in the FedEx Cup standings and needing a projected finish of 15th or better, at the very least, to reach the cutoff of 70. He started the tournament 70-65-66, close enough to be within sight of the playoff cutoff but too far away to get comfortable.
On Sunday, Thomas played himself onto the edge of the 70th position coming to the par-5 15th. He managed to eagle that hole after a brilliant approach, but even that was only enough to put him right on the bubble at No. 70. A bogey at 16 somehow didn’t cost him a spot, but a par at 17 didn’t help.
Thomas then came to the 18th needing a birdie to hold onto his spot, as the projections ran, and he proceeded to lash his tee shot into the pine straw. He ranked T62 in driving all week, and the wayward shot seemed like it would doom his hopes. But he got acrobatic:
The result: a shot that ended up just off the green, 34 feet from the hole. Needing a chip-in to get to 70, he swung, and …
Thomas collapsed to the turf, in agony at missing a hole-out by just inches. Shortly afterward, the horn sounded, pausing the entire tournament with about a dozen players still out on the course.
“I can’t do anything, unless I dress up and try to start messing some people up,” Thomas said, “but if it did happen I feel like it wouldn’t be good juju for the rest of my year or my career.”
Thomas, and the rest of the field, could only sit and wait as the rain blew through Greensboro, N.C. But Thomas, at least outwardly, appeared content with what he’d done to this point. One good weekend couldn’t make up for months of struggle.
“I did my part,” he said. “I played the best I could and I fought as hard as I could and shot the lowest I possibly could. I just have to just hope that somehow it’s good enough.”
Unfortunately for Thomas, it wasn’t. Tournament winner Lucas Glover — who started the week ranked #112 — and the rest of the remaining players finished out their round in twilight without any change to Thomas’ status.
With the playoffs decided, the looming question becomes whether Thomas did enough to earn a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup team. Captain Zach Johnson has several weeks to decide on his six picks — weeks in which other Ryder Cup hopefuls could post some strong results of their own.