Justin Thomas falters down Valspar Championship leaderboard due to abysmal putting

One could describe Justin Thomas’ day on the greens as abysmal, terrible, and gut-wrenching.

He lost more than seven strokes during the third round of the Valspar Championship, totaling an eye-popping 38 putts in the process. He did not make a single putt over three feet.

Thomas began the day with a birdie on the par-5 first hole, making a two-foot, nine-inch putt to grab a share of the lead at 6-under. But that wound up being the longest putt Thomas would make all day.

His woes began on the next hole, the par-4 2nd. He missed a 7-footer for par, which only served as a harbinger of things to come.

Another five-foot miss for par came at the third, and suddenly, the train began to teeter off the tracks.

Four holes later, at the par-4 7th, Thomas three-putted from 10 feet. That lowlight included a miss from two feet, three inches, as he settled for a double bogey.

Three consecutive bogies after the 7th followed, and by the time Thomas stood on the 11th tee, he was abruptly over-par for the championship.

Two more bogies at the 12th and 14th holes followed, which dropped him to 8-over on the day and 3-over for the tournament.

Like that, he went from first to worst, dropping nearly 70 places on the leaderboard thanks to his freezing cold putter. He now sits 13 shots back of 54-hole leader Keith Mitchell.

It’s not as if Thomas did anything else well, either. He lost strokes approaching the green and lost strokes around the green, but he did manage to gain 1.224 strokes off the tee.

Ironically, Thomas struggled off the tee throughout 2023, a poor season by his standards. But that was his best attribute on Saturday, a day in which he shot an 8-over 79.

Should these putting woes continue over the next several weeks—or even at Augusta National—perhaps Thomas will follow Scottie Scheffler and switch to a mallet putter.

The move paid off for Scheffler, who has since won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship.

Maybe a similar move would help Thomas because his performance could not have been worse than it was on Saturday. No professional golfer should ever record 38 putts during a round, even in the U.S. Open.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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