Rahm eagles his way to victory at Torrey Pines
A closing 7-under-par 65 at Torrey Pines made Jon Rahm, 22, the youngest winner of the Farmers Insurance Open beating beat Phil Mickelson’s previous mark. He finished at 13-under for a three-stroke victory over Charles Howell III and Cheng Tsung Pan.
Rahm, who tied for third at the Quicken Loans National last summer, won in his fifth start of the 2016-17 season and in his 17th PGA Tour appearance.
“It was important to keep composure, keep it going, and I’m just so glad I was able to keep my mind on the game and I was able to think clearly,” said Rahm. “And I’m just so happy it finally happened.”
A native of Spain, Rahm started the day three strokes off the lead, which was held jointly by another young gun, the 24-year-old Patrick Rodgers, and the defending champion, Brandt Snedeker.
A majestic 4-iron by Rahm to 9 metres on the par-5 13th lead to a holed eagle putt to tie for the lead. He stiffed a wedge into 2 metres on the 17th to take the lead, and he finished with his long eagle putt that broke hard to the right and peeled back to the left and dropped in on the side of the cup.
Rahm’s joy was obvious as he embraced his caddie.
“I can’t explain what went through my mind when I holed that putt – I’ve just seen my reaction and I can’t even remember doing it,” said Rahm, referring to his fist-pumping celebration. “This was my third chance to win on the PGA Tour and I’m glad I took it.”
All four PGA Tour events to start the new year now have been won by players in their 20s – Justin Thomas (23) won both event in Hawaii, and Hudson Swafford (29) won last week in the California desert.
A product of the US Collegiate system, Rahm won the Ben Hogan Award his final two years at Arizona State as the top college player, along with the Jack Nicklaus Award his senior year as the best golfer. He spent 60 weeks at the No. 1 amateur in the world.
Rahm turned professional in June 2016 and earned his PGA Tour position from four starts, tying for third in the Quicken Loans National at Congressional and finishing runner-up by one shot at the Canadian Open.
The victory gets Rahm into the Masters for the first time, along with other big events. He moves into top 50 in the world, and if he can stay there for three weeks he will get into two World Golf Championships in March.
Marc Leishman was the best of the Australians finishing in a tie for 20th position at 6-under. Cameron Smith moved nine places with a closing 70 to finish in a tie for 33rd position. With John Senden and Cameron Percy further down the leaderboard.
Both Jason Day and Tiger Woods missed the weekend cut in their first tournaments of the year with Day firing rounds of 73-74 and Woods 76-72.
Woods will now make the long journey across the Atlantic to play the Dubai Desert Classic starting this Thursday.