LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It may not have been inevitable, but it was certainly the goal all along.Justin Thomas, likely the most decorated amateur golfer ever from Kentucky, regularly winning trophies as big as he was, is now ready to embark on life as a PGA Tour member.
Thomas, 21, a 2011 St. Xavier graduate, has about 125 wins worldwide as an amateur.He was the nation's top collegiate golfer at Alabama and a member of the winning Walker Cup team for the U.S. He opted to leave the Crimson Tide after his Sophomore season to pursue a professional career.And now, about a year later, after finishing 5th on the Web.com tour, he should have access in most PGA events for the coming season, beginning with this week's Frys.com Open in California's Napa Valley.
The Louisville area native has played in several PGA events in the last few years.He got his first professional win in September in Columbus, Ohio, a win made even more special because it came before his parents and grandparents. Thomas earned nearly a half-million dollars in his first year as a pro and said he learned a lot on the Web.com tour.
“I think in the middle of the season, I struggled mentally a bit,” Thomas said. “I finished 25th to 40th a lot.I just wasn't getting much out of my rounds and most importantly, I wasn't learning anything and I was getting frustrated. I think that was a little bit with the travel and my first year and I was getting acclimated to everything.But those weeks were good for me.I had to step back and re-assess everything and just get after it for the second half of the year.”
Justin learned the game from his father Mike, the son of a teaching pro and the long-time head pro himself at Harmony Landing in Goshen. Mike said he's very proud of how Justin has handled success thus far and he's thrilled to see him reaching his goals.
“As proud as I am for what he's done, more than proud, I'm happy for him that he's accomplished what he's wanted to do,” said Mike. “If you ask him, he hasn't accomplished it yet. His goal is to go out and win on tour, win a major and be one of the top players in the world. So you can't get wrapped up in what you've done this week. While you can enjoy it, that's just a stop on the way to your ultimate goal.”
Thomas will begin play at 1:35 Thursday off the 1st Tee., playing with another Web.com graduate, U of L product Adam Hadwin.