124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Thomas' back a question mark for Sunday

September 07, 2013

__By Ryan Herrington

SOUTHAMPTION, N.Y.__—He claimed 1.5 points on Day 1 of the 44th Walker Cup, but Justin Thomas wasn't quite himself. A back injury that surfaced during Thursday's practice round at National GL of America flared up again Saturday, causing the 20-year-old from Goshen, Ky., to ask U.S. captain Jim Holtgrieve to sit him out of Sunday morning's foursomes session.

Holtgrieve said that Thomas, who is playing his last amateur event this week, having previously announced he was skipping his final two seasons at Alabama to turn pro, spoke to him Saturday morning and expressed concern about whether his back would hold up. However, it didn't stop him from pairing with Patrick Rodgers and claiming the only U.S. victory in A.M. foursomes.

But in afternoon singles when Thomas hit his tee shot on the 12th hole in his match with Nathan Kimsey, Holtgrieve noticed him flinch. While Thomas managed to finish the round, claiming a half point when the match ended all square on the 18th, Holtgrieve decided to switch his Sunday foursomes lineup, dropping Thomas from his pairing with Rodgers and replacing him with__Jordan Niebrugge__).

"It seemed like when he was able to hit a pull shot, he was OK," Holtgrieve said. "It was the shorter shots he was having problems with. When he got done he was hurting. I think the adrenaline got him going, and i think that he was able to finish. But he's in some pain."

Thomas is scheduled to play in the Sunday afternoon singles session, facing GB&I's Max Orrin in the No. 2 match.