US Open: Jon Rahm produces epic finish to win maiden major

Jon Rahm Us Open Win

FINAL STANDINGS -6 Rahm; -5 Oosthuizen; -3 English; -2 Migliozzi, Koepka, Morikawa; -1 Grace, Berger, Casey, Schauffele, Scheffler, McIlroy. SELECTED OTHERS +2 Garcia, Thomas, Spieth, D. Johnson; +5 MacIntyre.

The universe has settled its debt with Jon Rahm. The Spaniard’s wait for a first major victory is over.

Just two weeks after he had victory snatched from his clutches at the Memorial, when a positive COVID test saw him withdrawn from the tournament whilst holding a six-shot lead after 54 holes, the 26-year-old emerged from a congested leaderboard to win the US Open at Torrey Pines.

Starting the day three shots off the lead, Rahm closed with a four-under 67 to win by a shot from 54-hole co-leader Louis Oosthuizen.

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Back-to-back birdies to finish helped him set a formidable target, with Oosthuizen, sitting in the final group at five-under, still on the course.     

However, a wayward drive by the South African at the 17th effectively ended his hopes of winning a second major – and handed new dad Rahm his first... on Father's Day, no less.

"I'm a big believer in karma, and after what happened a couple weeks ago I stayed really positive knowing good things were coming," said Rahm. "I didn't know what it was going to be but I knew we were coming to a special place.

"I got breakthrough win here and it's a very special place for my family, and the fact that my parents were able to come, I got out of COVID protocol early - I just felt like the stars were aligning.

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"I have a hard time explaining what just happened. I can't even believe I made the last two putts, and I'm the first Spaniard ever to win a US Open. 

"This was definitely for Seve. I know he tried a lot, and usually we think a lot about him at the Masters, but I know he wanted to win this one most of all. I just don't know how to explain it."

Jon Rahm

Rahm's victory sees him return to the top of the Official World Golf Rankings, leapfrogging Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas. He also earns a cheque for $2,250,000 and becomes just the fourth male major champion from Spain, emulating Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia.

His jubliation, of course, was in stark contrast to the disappointment felt by his closest challengers, amongst them Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman was heavily fancied to end a major drought stretching back to the 2014 US PGA when he got himself into the penultimate group on Sunday. 

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He was going along nicely, too, until a three-putt on 11 and a double on 12 effectively ended his hopes. Nonetheless, the 32-year-old was determined to accentuate the positives. 

"It's been a good week," he said. "I put up a good fight. I started the round well today. With the three-putt on 11, that sort of stopped the momentum, and then I got a little unlucky on 12 and made double from there. Take those two holes out, the rest of the week was really good."

Bryson De Chambeau

Like McIlroy, defending champion Bryson DeChambeau came undone on the back nine. The 28-year-old led briefly around halfway through the final round but imploded spectacularly, coming home in 44 blows to finish on three-over and in a tie for 26th.

Of arguably the biggest concern to him will be that he hit only 21% of his fairways in the final round, which would suggest that he got his "bomb and gouge" strategy badly wrong.

Not that he's seeing it that way.

"It's golf," said DeChambeau. "People will say I did this or did that. I've had plenty of times where I hit it way worse than today and I won. It's just one of those things where I didn't have the right breaks happen at the right time. 

"I could have easily gotten to 7-, 8-under today. I just wasn't fully confident with the golf swing and just got a little unlucky in the rough and a couple other places."

Elsewhere, Scotland's Bob MacIntyre finished in a tie for 35th on five-over. 

The day, though, belonged to Rahm - and it may just be the first of many.

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