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Spaniard, John Rahm is enjoying the best form of his career after picking up his second title of 2023 and his fourth victory in his last six events. Victory at The American Express in California last weekend has lifted Rahm into third in the official World Rankings but no one is playing better golf than him at the moment.
Victory in California came as a result of keeping a level head at the end of his round. With three holes to play, he was tied for the lead with Davis Thompson, a rookie from Alabama, but Rahm showed his class down the stretch to claim a one shot victory at 27 under par.
Elsewhere, Xander Schauffele and Chris Kirk came close to winning the tournament themselves and ended the week in third place on 25 under part, while Justin Rose finished tied for 26th with a score of -18.
A battle until the very end
With Rahm and Thompson neck and neck going into the final three holes, it really was anyone’s game. Although Rahm is in incredible form, Thompson had managed to stay with him throughout the opening three days.
On the 16th, however, the first sign of nerves appeared. The rookie pulled his drive into a fairway booker and had to settle for par while Rahm played the hole perfectly to sink an easy birdie.
On the par-three 17th, misfortune and fate seemed to enter the equation. They say that when things are going well for you, you get the rub of the green and Rahm certainly did here. Thompson nailed a 50-foot birdie putt which would and should have given him a share of the lead going into the final hole but the pin, which he chose to leave in, ricocheted the ball away from the cup.
Thompson failed to beat Rahm on the final hole who dealt with the end of his round impeccably. The win moves Rahm closer to reclaiming the world number one spot, which he believes he should already have.
After victory in California, Rahm said:
“Had I had the same putting I had yesterday or Friday it probably would’ve been a runaway victory, but can’t ask for everything. You learn in every single situation, and today was definitely a stressful day.
I got a little lucky that Davis’ putt didn’t in on 17 but what a heck of a player he is. He’s doing all the right things and wouldn’t be surprised if he wins soon, because he gave me a real battle today and it was a lot of fun.”
Rahm seeking a hat-trick
Next up for Rahm is the Farmers Insurance Open this week. Should Rahm win the event then he will become the first player since Dustin Johnson in 2017 to win three consecutive PGA Tour events. It would also make him the world number one.
The even is played at Torrey Pines where the Spaniard has fond memories. It was the site of his US Open victory in 2021 and also his first eve PGA Tour victory. Going into the tournament, he is in a confident mood:
“I’m going to go to Torrey, a place that I’m already very confident at, with very high hopes, knowing that I’m doing all the right things. If I can keep hitting it off the tee and my iron game keeps staying at this level I’m going to have a really good chance.
I can’t help but smile because it’s a very emotional week every time I go. It’s a very special place in my heart.”