Justin Thomas misses out at Zozo Championship; upbeat for Masters

Justin Thomas has turned his attentions to winning the Masters next month after falling short in his title challenge at the Zozo Championship.

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The world No 3 took a one-shot lead into the final round at Sherwood Country Club but had to settle for a share of second, as Patrick Cantlay posted a seven-under 65 to claim a one-stroke win.

Thomas birdied the last to close out a three-under 69 and share second spot with Jon Rahm, with the 27-year-old admitting he struggled to stay mentally sharp during the final day in California.

“I’ve got to find a way to kind of just stay a little bit more focused out there,” Thomas said. “It’s crazy, but sometimes it’s hard to just keep the killer instinct and stay in the zone when it’s as quiet as it is out there.

“It’s tough, but we’re all dealing with it and I just have to find a little bit better way with how to cope with that here in the next couple weeks because I’ve got a huge event on a course that I love.

“I feel like I’m playing well and I feel like I should have a great chance to win. A lot of positives this week. I can’t look at it as a bad week, but it is upsetting not getting it done.”

Thomas started his final round with back-to-back birdies and holed a 20-footer from the fringe at the par-four sixth, only to par his next eighth holes and bogey the 15th before finishing his week with a close-range birdie.

“I just didn’t play very well,” Thomas said. “It’s unfortunate because I feel like I usually could have shot five under out there. To play the par-five’s in one under is just unacceptable if you’re trying to win a golf tournament. I fought like hell, I fought as hard as I could, I just didn’t have my best stuff. But I think if I birdie 16, I win the golf tournament.

“Making one birdie my last 12 holes out here, shooting even par on the back nine, playing the par-five’s in one under, you can name a lot of things. But I know I made a lot of really key putts when I felt like I needed to.

“Those putts on 12 and 13 were huge to keep myself in it, and even on 16 I still had a chance. But again, it just sucks when you’re right there and you don’t get it done, but hopefully I’ll learn from it to where it won’t happen anymore.”

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