Jon Rahm wins first major title with US Open win
Fifteen days after his preparations apparently turned upside down, Jon Rahm finished in the stands to win his first major title at the 121st US Open.
The Spaniard birdied the last two holes at Torrey Pines to complete a closing 67 and finish six under par, one shot ahead of South African Louis Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen, who was also second in the US PGA last month, missed 17th and had to eagle last for the second day in a row to force a play-off, but was unable to finish 69 yards after going. missed the fairway with his lead.
Rahm had just completed a sensational 64 third round in the Memorial Tournament to establish a six-stroke lead when he was told off the 18th green that he had tested positive for Covid-19.
This required a period of isolation for up to two days before play started at Torrey Pines, where he won his first PGA Tour title in 2017 and also proposed to his wife.
And although Rahm received two negative test results on Friday and Saturday to get him out of isolation early, it wasn’t the ideal way to prepare for golf’s toughest middle finger.
Above all, the 26-year-old handled the situation with an admirable sense of perspective, defending the PGA Tour’s decision to strictly enforce their rules and noting that he still had the positive memories of his form at Muirfield Village on which s ‘to press.
“I believe in karma a lot and after what happened a few weeks ago, I was very positive knowing that great things were about to happen,” said Rahm.
“I didn’t know what it was going to be, but I knew we were coming to a special place, I knew I got my decisive victory here and this is a very special place for my family.
“The fact that my parents were able to come, I got out of the Covid protocols early, I just felt the stars were aligning. “
Rounds of 69, 70 and 72 meant he started the final round three-headed, but he got off to the perfect start with birdies in the first and second before realizing what would prove to be his. only bogey of the day the fourth.
A wild drive on the ninth looked in danger of being out of bounds, but Rahm was entitled to a free drop away from a fence and, after hitting his second shot down the fairway, spun his approach a few feet from the hole for set up an unlikely birdie.
A streak of seven back-to-back pars over the last nine meant Rahm was still behind Oosthuizen with a shot as he reached the last two holes, but he landed a 25-foot birdie curling putt on the 17th and a similar putt on the normal five 18 find a bunker with his approach.
Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau took the lead with his second birdie of the day in the eighth, with the American on the verge of a hole-in-one.
However, DeChambeau imploded on the last nine with two bogeys, a double bogey on the 13th and a quadruple bogey eight on the 17th, eventually signing for a closing 77.
Rory McIlroy’s bid for a first major title since 2014 also collapsed in the finals as the Northern Irishman was part of a four-way tie for the lead after a birdie on the fourth.
McIlroy three put in the 11th and double bogeyed the 12th to effectively end his chances, a closing 73 leaving him tied for seventh.
Earlier today, Phil Mickelson’s “once in a lifetime opportunity” to finish the career Grand Slam in his hometown of San Diego ended unusually, nearly two hours before the final squad started.
Mickelson started the week with a new hope of winning his national open for the first time, but ended it by hitting his approach from 18th about 70 yards beyond the hole and completing a 75 to finish 11 over of the by.
The 51-year-old was disappointed he didn’t play better, but remains confident he can replicate the form that made him the oldest major winner of the US PGA Championship last month.
“There are opportunities that come with the way I’ve played and I’m optimistic that I can compete and fight,” said the six-time major winner.
“There is nothing more fun for me than being there on the weekends. In fact, I played well enough to have a chance, and we have some good tournaments coming up in the next few months.
“Then I’ll look back and remember the end of the season and still have that Wanamaker Trophy that I’ll watch, and I’m always looking to add a friend to it along the line.
“This victory was very meaningful to me because I have worked a lot over the past few years and haven’t got anything out of it, and so having a moment like this is something worth it.”