Thomas apologizes after using anti-gay slur at Sentry

January 9, 2021; Maui, Hawaii, USA; Justin Thomas hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament at Kapalua Resort - The Plantation Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - World number three Justin Thomas said he was deeply apologetic after using a homophobic slur during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Saturday.

Thomas, the defending champion at the $6.7 million event, missed a five-foot putt on the fourth hole after which he uttered the slur which was picked up by a television microphone.

“There’s just no excuse,” the 27-year-old American told Golf Channel. “There’s absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that. It’s terrible. It’s not the kind of person that I am.”

“I need to do better. I deeply apologize to anyone and everybody who I offended and I’ll be better because of it,” he added.

Thomas fired an eagle and six birdies on Saturday for a five-under 68. He heads into Sunday’s final round in a tie for fifth place at 17 under, four shots behind leaders Ryan Palmer and Harris English.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa