MEDINAH, Ill. — Justin Thomas opened with five straight birdies, added a pair of eagles and shattered the course record at soft, vulnerable Medinah with an 11-under 61 to take a six-shot lead into the final round of the BMW Championship.
Thomas hit 5-wood to 2 feet for an eagle on No. 10, holed out from 180 yards with an 8-iron on No. 16 and made eight birdies to turn a tight race into a one-man show.
“I felt good about my game for a while, and you don’t know when something like this is going to happen,” Thomas said. “We’ve all been talking the last couple of weeks that I’m due to have one, and it’s nice when it happens.”
And just like that, he was already thinking about Sunday.
Thomas was at 21-under 195, six shots clear of Tony Finau (68) and Patrick Cantlay (67). He has a clear path to his first victory in a year, and it would give him the FedEx Cup lead going into the Tour Championship at East Lake.
The goal for Tiger Woods is simply to get to the Tour Championship, where last year he ended five years without winning. Woods had a bogey-free 67, his lowest score since the final round of the Memorial.
When Medinah is this much of a pushover, it didn’t help all that much. He was tied for 31st, with some 18 players ahead of where he needs to be to move into the top 30 in the FedEx Cup and advance to East Lake.
All but two players in the 69-man field — Harold Varner III and Cameron Champ — were at par or better.
Barron jumps ahead as play is suspended
ENDICOTT, N.Y. — Monday qualifier Doug Barron had a one-stroke lead in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open when lightning forced the suspension of play late in the second round Saturday.
Making his second PGA Tour Champions start after turning 50 last month, Barron was 10 under for the tournament playing the par-4 15th when play was stopped at En Joie Golf Club.
Barron got into the field Monday with a 66 at The Links at Hiawatha Landing. He’s coming off a fifth-place tie in the Senior British Open in his Champions debut.
Scott McCarron was tied for second after a 66. He won the event two years ago.
Marco Dawson, playing alongside Barron and Miguel Angel Jimenez in the final group, also was 9 under with Scott Parel and David McKenzie. Playing together in the second-to-last group, Parel and McKenzie also were on 15 when play was suspended.
Pairing set for final at U.S. Amateur
PINEHURST, N.C. — Andy Ogletree took a peek at the bracket before the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals and made a prediction to his caddie: He would face John Augenstein in the final. He was right.
Augenstein beat William Holcomb V 3 and 2 in one semifinal Saturday, and Ogletree topped teenager and fellow Mississippian Cohen Trolio 3 and 1 in the other.
They will meet Sunday in a 36-hole final split over two courses, starting on Pinehurst’s renovated No. 4 course and finishing at No. 2 — the site of three men’s U.S. Opens and the 2008 U.S. Amateur.
And for all the buzz about the young players in the field — including the 17-year-old Trolio — both finalists are 21-year-old college seniors with match-play experience.
Augenstein — from Owensboro, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt — was the highest-ranked of the four semifinalists, and at No. 38 in the world amateur ranking, the only one in the top 100.
Ogletree, a Georgia Tech player from Little Rock, Miss., won his first hole against Trolio and never trailed after that.