Justin Thomas takes a commanding lead in the POY race with his first FedEx Cup win

Mike Murphy

If you watched the latest episode of Ferhety after the Dell Technologies championship, you will notice that the interviewee, Justin Thomas, has the No.5 on his red hat. It’s pretty fitting – but even more ironic – since Thomas won his fifth event of the year on Monday afternoon.

Not only was this win at the Dell Technologies championship helpful for his Player of the Year campaign, but it also inches him closer to the FedEx Cup. Even though Jordan Spieth came in second place, the points he earned put him in first place for the FedEx Cup while Thomas trails him by just 27 points.

The funny thing is, it looked like Jordan Spieth was going to run away with this one when he opened his round just before Thomas did. Spieth went Birdie – Eagle – Birdie – Birdie to start his day five under par.

It would be the 12th hole that did Spieth in. Most players this week – like Thomas – hit their ball over the trees on the left-hand side on the par-4 12th to hit from the beginning of the 13th fairway. That shot from the 13th took the trees in the middle of the 12th hole out of play for an easier shot.

Spieth hit his ball into the rough, right in front of the trees and tried to draw a 4-iron on to the green and take the trees out of play. Unfortunately, that shot went well right and gave him a bogey on the hole to drop him to 15-under on the day.

After he hit the unsuccessful draw he looked at caddy, Michael Greller and said: “I guess I should have gone with the punch [under the tree branches], huh?” Spieth would have had a much easier time punching it underneath and running the ball up to the hole.

Thomas, who only committed one bogey on the day, played a fairly quiet round of 5-under golf and kept staying consistent with the pace he set on Sunday when he shot an 8-under 63.

You can’t say that Spieth gave this one away, but had he gone with a different approach at the 12th, this round may have come down to the wire like it did last week at the Northern Trust open.

It would have been so much more fun to see these two life-long (short life thus far) friends go at it in a sudden-death playoff. But there was zero ill-will on either side as the two embraced after the round.

“We grew up together,” said Spieth. “You grow up and you watch each other work from when you’re 14. He’s one of my best friends in the whole world.”

Thomas also added that Spieth’s early success has fueled his desire to finish this year on a high note.

“Definitely jealousy,” Thomas said. “I still get jealous. Anytime any of my friends win and I don’t, I’m extremely happy for them, I’m pumped for them, I’m excited. But I’m jealous.”

And Thomas is as hot as a golfer can be right now, 10 of his last 11 rounds have been below par. This fifth win and a strong finish are giving him a great case to be this year’s player of the year as he now leads the PGA Tour in victories for this season. Usually, anyone with over five wins, including a major championship, has the best chance at capturing the award.

Spieth and Thomas will be No.1 and 2 in the FedEx Cup heading into next week’s BMW Championship for the third-round of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

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