Hideki Matsuyama, seeking to be the first player from Japan to win a men’s major, started the day tied for second, but slipped to fifth.Credit Sam Greenwood/Getty Images It capped a round that began with a harrowing bogey.
Thomas birdied the seventh, ninth and 10th holes — the last on a putt that hung on the lip for more than 10 seconds before falling — and found himself in a five-way tie for the lead with Molinari, Matsuyama, Kevin Kisner and Chris Stroud.
The other member of his twosome, Matsuyama, 25, may have failed in his bid to become the first Japanese player to win a men’s major, but he has won six times worldwide since Rory McIlroy’s most recent title, at last year’s Tour Championship.
Spieth, 24, who fell 10 strokes short in his bid to become the youngest player to win all four majors, started the week of this tournament by trying to set straight everyone who was ready to proclaim the next 20 years on the PGA Tour a two-man race between him and McIlroy.
As Thomas left the 18th green and made the long walk toward the scoring area, he passed a receiving line that included Fowler, Spieth and the 27-year-old Bud Cauley, a teammate of Thomas’s at the University of Alabama.
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