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Rahm birdies his way to Major glory

Happy family: Jon Rahm celebrates his U.S. Open triumph with wife Kelley and son Kepa.  

From a significant disappointment earlier in the month, Jon Rahm of Spain told himself that something good would come from that. It sure didn’t take long for that to unfold for one of the world’s emerging golf stars.

Rahm shot 4-under-par 67, with remarkable birdies in the last two holes, in the last round of the U.S. Open to cap a remarkable turnaround from two weeks ago and capture his first Major championship on Sunday at Torrey Pines. The win also helped third-ranked Spaniard to became the new World No.1 displacing Dustin Johnson.

“I’m a big believer in karma,” Rahm said. “After what happened a couple of weeks ago, I stayed really positive knowing big things were coming. I didn’t know what it was going to be. ... I got out of Covid protocol early. I just felt like the stars were aligning.”

Two weekends ago, Rahm dealt with devastation when a positive COVID-19 test meant he was forced to withdraw from the Memorial despite holding a six-shot lead after three rounds. That sent him into quarantine, putting his entry in to the U.S. Open in jeopardy.

Rahm’s four-round total of 6-under 278 was good for a one-shot victory on South African Louis Oosthuizen.

Unbelievable

Rahm had birdies on the final two holes — both with putts of more than 18 feet — to move to the front. It had been almost four decades since a golfer birdied the last two holes to win a U.S. Open. “I can’t even believe I made the last two putts,” he said.

But Oosthuizen, who was in the final pairing, had three holes to play at that point.

Oosthuizen secured five consecutive pars after a bogey on the par-3 11th, but a bogey on No. 17 pretty much ended his chances unless he could produce an eagle on the last hole — something he pulled off Saturday on the par-5 layout. Not this time, as he settled for birdie and a final-round 71.

Disappointing

“I’m second again,” Oosthuizen said. “Look, it’s frustrating. It’s disappointing. I’m playing good golf, but it’s not winning a Major.”

Rahm, 26, tied for third place in the 2019 U.S. Open for his previous best outing in a major. His background at the championship was notable because he was the low amateur in 2016, when he tied for 23rd.

Oosthuizen has won one Major (2010 British Open) and has six runner-up spots, including second at last month’s PGA Championship.

Harris English finished third at 3-under, while Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, and Italy’s Guido Migliozzi shared fourth place.

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau tied for 26th, while PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson shared 62nd place.

Final standings: 278: Jon Rahm (Esp) 69-70-72-67; 279: Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 67-71-70-71; 281: Harris English (USA) 72-70-71-68; 282: Guido Migliozzi (Ita) 71-70-73-68, Brooks Koepka (USA) 69-73-71-69, Collin Morikawa (USA) 75-67-70-70.


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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 10:23:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/rahm-birdies-his-way-to-major-glory/article34892925.ece

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