Golf-Thomas cuts practice time to be mentally sharp for U.S. Open

Jun 14, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; Justin Thomas plays his shot from the seventh tee during a practice round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Reuters) - Justin Thomas may not be riding a string of encouraging results ahead of this week's U.S. Open but the world number two said on Tuesday he had actually reduced his practice time in a bid to remain mentally fresh.

The U.S. Open is meant to be the toughest test in golf and Thomas, who finished outside the top 40 in his only two events since missing the cut at last month's PGA Championship, said his preparation days are far from intense.

"I try to make them as easy on myself as possible," said Thomas. "I want to make sure everything's perfect, but something I've learned is that it doesn't matter what kind of state my game is in, if I'm not mentally there or mentally fresh and ready, it really doesn't matter."

As a result, Thomas said that since his game felt good after playing 18 holes at Torrey Pines on Monday he left the course when he was done rather than spending additional time on the range fussing over details.

The 28-year-old American has mostly steered clear of the regular PGA Tour event held at Torrey Pines, his only two appearances resulting in a 10th place finish in 2014 and a missed cut in 2015.

Thomas has not recorded a top-10 finish since winning The Players Championship in March but sees encouraging signs in his game ahead of the test of Torrey Pines.

"Clearly I haven't been playing well and consistently, but I definitely have been playing better than the results have shown," said Thomas, whose sole major triumph to date came at the 2017 PGA Championship.

"And I think a lot of that is just fighting some things here and there in my golf swing and in my putting that are coming up time to time, but a lot of it is just mental, as well, and being a little bit nicer and easier on myself."

Thomas, whose best U.S. Open result was a share of eighth place last year at Winged Foot, will play the first two rounds this week with four-times major champion Brooks Koepka and 2020 PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa.

(Reporting by Andrew Both; Writing by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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