Justin Thomas lamented not giving himself a better chance of winning the U.S. Open after struggling to back up his blistering third round.
Thomas broke the U.S. Open record for lowest round in relation to par when he shot a nine-under 63 at Erin Hills on Saturday.
However, the American carded a three-over 75 on Sunday to drop back into a tie for ninth at eight under, eight shots behind champion Brooks Koepka.
He was understandably disappointed after signing his scorecard which included three bogeys on the front nine.
"Anytime you don't win, it stings," Thomas said after his round. "But if 12 or 13 under would have won, it would have hurt really bad. But knowing, like I said, that I would have had to shoot five under just to get in the play-off, that's really, really good golfing out here.
"I mean, to be honest, it just sucks to not even have a chance on that back nine. To try to go out there and try to get in a top five or trying to get up near the lead is not what I play for, but, unfortunately, that's really all I was dealt, so it's what I had to try to do."
Though Thomas was not trying to give excuses, he did find his late starting time to be a bit of an adjustment.
"I'd never teed off this late before, so that was different," he said. "Teeing off at almost three o'clock central time is just bizarre for me, because I wake up pretty early. So it was a lot of kind of laying around and just trying to stay off the phone and try to stay away from reading stuff just because there are so many things out there that are being said or written.
"I just tried to stay away from it. But, yeah, it was hard to. But I would like to think that's not why I played how I did today. I just didn't play well."
Despite his disappointing final round, Thomas acknowledged his fondness of the course, with more than a few players sharing his sentiment throughout the week.
"Yeah, I like it," he said about Erin Hills. "I liked it before I came here. I think the wrap it was getting for the low scores and everything, I mean it is what it is. We had one day like this, and the scores were more like an Open. They were obviously a little bit lower, but it does not matter what golf course you put us on. If there's no wind and soft greens, we're going to play well. That's just how it is. Especially fairways this big.
"So, I think I didn't really understand the beef that it was getting for the low scores. I mean, it was still, I mean, 12 under, 11 under was still leading the tournament at one back. That's not that low for the best players in the world in a major championship.
"I think there's no reason why it couldn't host another [U.S. Open]. I'm sure Erin Hills and the USGA would like it to play firmer and faster to see what it would be like."
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