The sequel is never easy.

Making it even more difficult on Justin Thomas is that he had two days between accepting the Jack Nicklaus Award as the PGA Tour player of the year and getting on a plane for Malaysia to start a new season.

He has won the last two times at the CIMB Classic. His expectations are lower this year for appropriate reasons.

Thomas hasn’t had time to catch his breath, much less exhale, following a frenetic and fabulous end to his season. He closed with a 66 at the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup, and then he flew straight to New York for his debut in the Presidents Cup, where he went 3-1-1 in a resounding American victory.

“It’s going to be a little bit different this year, just in terms of everything that’s happened and kind of the lack of preparation I’ll probably get as opposed to years prior,” Thomas said last week.

He will make one more stop next week in South Korea for the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges before a five-week break to digest and reassess.

A year ago, Thomas had one victory in his 64 starts as a pro on the PGA Tour. He was No. 35 in the world and still being referred to as “Jordan Spieth’s friend” whenever he was shown on TV.

Now he’s trying to figure out how high to set the bar.

Along with five victories and his first major, the 24-year-old Thomas burnished his reputation for explosive scoring with a 59 and the 72-hole scoring record on the PGA Tour during his seven-shot victory at the Sony Open, and a 63 at the U.S. Open….