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Justin Thomas chases at Phoenix Open after death of grandfather, Paul Thomas


Justin Thomas is among a strong cast of pursuers at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but will make his Sunday chase with a heavy heart after the death of his grandfather on Saturday.

The PGA Tour confirmed Paul Thomas’s death on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.

It’s been well documented that golf runs in the Thomas family. Justin’s father Mike is a PGA professional and Mike’s father Paul worked in the same industry. Paul, who was born in Ashland, Kentucky, but moved to Cincinnati as a child, was a lifelong club professional and spent a long chunk of his career as the head professional at Zanesville Country Club in Ohio.

Like his grandson, Paul, who was 89, entered the golf world early. He left school and declared himself a golf professional at the age of 17 and bounced around several clubs. He competed in the 1960 and ‘61 PGA Championships but did not have luck playing on the PGA Tour. Later in his life, he made the cut in three U.S. Senior Opens.

According to a story about Paul on, he and wife Phyllis followed their grandson’s career closely from their home in Columbus, Ohio. Both were on-hand at Firestone Country Club in 2018 when Justin won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Paul had competed on that course at the 1960 PGA Championship.

Justin has had a strong start to the 2020-21 season on the golf course – logging top-5 finishes at the Zozo Championship, Masters and Sentry Tournament of Champions – but has largely made headlines for an anti-gay slur he used after a missed putt at the Tournament of Champions. He has spoken several times of his desire to learn from the experience as he moves forward.

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