John Rahm wins the 2023 Tournament of Champions

John Rahm wins the 2023 Tournament of Champions

John Rahm has pulled off a spectacular comeback on the final day of action at the Tournament of Champions to steal victory from Collin Morikawa’s grasp. The triumph in Hawaii gives the Spaniard the best possible springboard for success in 2023. 

Going into the final round, Morikawa boasted a seven-shot lead over Ram which extended to eight after the American went three-under part through the first six holes. However, nobody could have predicted what happened over the next twelve holes. 

Morikawa, who had led the tournament since round two, failed to hit another birdie until the 18th which left the door open for the charismatic Rahm to whittle it down. He birdied eight of the first 13 holes and then sunk a fantastic putt on the 15th for an eagle. 

The eagle seemingly rattled Morikawa, who bogeyed the 14th and 15th to give Rahm the lead going into the final few holes. Remarkably, they were the first holes that the Californian had bogeyed all week. 

While Rahm’s effort of 63 was stunning, Morikawa will be gutted that he has once again let slip a commanding position in a PGA event. In hindsight, all he needed was a round of 69 to secure victory on Sunday but he could only manage a 72.

Tom Hoge and Max Homa were the next closest challengers, finishing four shots off Rahm. Meanwhile, joint-first-round leader J.J. Spaun finished in fifth place on -22 for the week. 


Rahm in disbelief

Rahm, who has world number one for 43 weeks in 2020/2021, was in disbelief afterwards. Coming back from such a large deficit against a top player in Morikawa is no small feat and he was understandably beaming with pride. The 2021 US Open winner told NBC:

“If you told me at the beginning of the round, after the bogey on the first, I was going to do what I did I don’t know if I would have believed you. But that point, it’s not like winning is really in mind, you’ve just got to get to work and start making birdies and that’s what I did.

On 15 is when it truly became reality, when I had that putt to get within one shot and knowing how good I was playing, 16 and 18 are good birdie options.

That putt went in and then on 17, I couldn’t believe it when I missed the green and we had a one-shot lead. It took quite an effort to just settle myself down and change my mindset.”

A day to forget for Morikawa

Morikawa has form for letting a final-round lead slip. Back in the 2021 Hero World Challenge, he squandered a five-shot lead when victory would have given him the status of world number one. Afterwards, he opened up to reporters about how he was feeling:

“It sucks. You work so hard and you give yourself these opportunities and just bad timing on bad shots kind of added up really quickly. I don’t know what I’m going to learn from this week, but it just didn’t seem like it was that far off. It really wasn’t.”

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