Jon Rahm, With Drama on His Side at Last, Wins the U.S. Open

SAN DIEGO — A golf ball hit by one among the leaders lodged in the limb of a tree. A shot by one other contender settled subsequent to an open case of beer. No one appeared in a position to hold his footing on the 13th tee, the place the floor was as unpredictable as a carnival Tilt-A-Whirl. The reigning champion missed a gap in a single by an inch.

The last spherical of the 121st U.S. Open on Sunday didn’t lack for rigidity and theatrics. But Jon Rahm, who two weeks in the past was pressured to withdraw from a tournament in tears as a result of he had examined optimistic for the coronavirus, discovered the resolve to birdie the last two holes at Torrey Pines Golf Course to win America’s nationwide golf championship by one stroke.

The victory was Rahm’s first in a significant championship and made him the first Spaniard to win the occasion. On June 5, he was main the Memorial Tournament in Ohio by a commanding six strokes when the coronavirus check saved him out of the last spherical. Informed of the outcome as he got here off the 18th inexperienced, Rahm doubled over and left the space wiping his eyes.

“I just had a good feeling knowing I was coming to San Diego,” stated Rahm, who has typically visited the space and who proposed to his spouse, Kelley, at Torrey Pines. “Every time we come here, we’re happy. It had to happen this way, every part of the journey.”

That included, Rahm stated, what transpired at the Memorial Tournament.

“I was never resentful for anything for any second, and I don’t blame anybody,” he stated. “Unfortunately Covid is a reality. We have lost a lot of people. People said it wasn’t fair, but it was what had to be done. And all of it led to this moment.”

Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa completed second at Torrey Pines, the sixth time he has been the runner-up in a significant golf championship. Oosthuizen, 38, won the 2010 British Open, then positioned second at the 2012 Masters, at the 2015 U.S. and British Opens and at the P.G.A. Championship in 2017 and in 2021, when Phil Mickelson won to develop into the oldest main champion.

Rahm’s victory ended a streak of six consecutive American winners in the occasion. With about two hours left in Sunday’s championship, practically 10 gamers had an opportunity to say the title. However, in the last 45 minutes, the chase narrowed to Rahm and Oosthuizen.

Rahm, who started the last spherical three strokes off the lead held by Oosthuizen, Russell Henley of the United States and Mackenzie Hughes of Canada, performed his opening 9 holes at two below par to leap up the leaderboard. Seven consecutive pars starting on the 10th gap saved Rahm in rivalry. The streak included a pivotal par putt from 20 ft that he sank on the par-3 16th gap. Rahm, a passionate participant who was as soon as greatest recognized for his suits of mood as a substitute of for his recreation, closed with a flourish.

At the 17th gap, trailing Oosthuizen by a stroke, he properly flew his tee shot to the proper of the fairway, the place there was ample room, then knocked his strategy onto the inexperienced. Sizing up a 24-foot putt with at least six ft of left-to-right break, Rahm gently tapped the downhill putt, which curled into the gap for a birdie that put him in a tie for the lead at 5 below par.

On the par-5 18th gap, Rahm bombed his drive and had 223 yards to the inexperienced. His four-iron shot pale a bit, and the ball skittered right into a bunker to the proper of the inexperienced. Rahm made a gutsy choice to play his third shot away from the gap, flipping the ball to the proper of the gap above the flagstick.

From 18 ft, Rahm sank one other curving putt, the ball slipping into the proper fringe of the gap. His feelings now welcome, the widespread Rahm pumped his proper fist repeatedly as followers enveloped him in raucous cheers. A four-under, final-round 67 had made Rahm the chief in the clubhouse.

Oosthuizen had an opportunity to catch Rahm, however he pulled his tee shot at the 17th gap left right into a ravine. The mistake led to a devastating bogey that ruined his alternative to power a playoff, even with a birdie on the 18th gap.

“The tee shot on 17 really cost me,” Oosthuizen stated. “I’m second again. No, look, it’s frustrating. It’s disappointing.”

Earlier Sunday afternoon, at about 2 p.m. Pacific time, it appeared that Bryson DeChambeau may efficiently defend his 2020 U.S. Open title, as his tee shot on the 175-yard, par-Three eighth gap bounced onto the placing floor and tracked towards the gap till it stopped one inch from the lip.

DeChambeau adopted up the tap-in birdie with two pars, however his highly effective drives started to float proper and into the tough. That led to bogeys at the 11th and 12th holes. On the par-5 13th tee, like a lot of his opponents, DeChambeau slipped as he pushed off his proper foot. The drive was brief and in the thick grass, as was his subsequent shot. A 3rd shot ended up in a bunker and his escape from the sand flew over the inexperienced till it got here to relaxation subsequent to a cardboard field of beer.

By the time DeChambeau putted out on the gap, he had made a double-bogey 7. He shot 44 on the again 9 and 77 for his last spherical.

Minutes after DeChambeau’s close to ace, Rory McIlroy missed a seven-foot birdie putt on the seventh gap that might have tied him with DeChambeau. It was the high-water mark of the event for McIlroy, who was searching for his first main championship since 2014. A bogey on the 11th gap and a disastrous double bogey on the 12th derailed his hopes, and he completed 5 strokes again at one below par.

Hughes stayed in the hunt till a shot to the 11th inexperienced lodged in a tree, a mishap that resulted in a double bogey and despatched him tumbling down the leaderboard.

Celebrating on the 18th inexperienced Sunday night, Rahm held his toddler son, Kepa, in his arms, smiled and seemed round at his dad and mom and different members of his prolonged household.

“Even though Father’s Day in Spain is a different day, I’m forcing him to celebrate it today,” he stated, “and we’re going to have fun because there’s three generations of Rahms on this green right now. One of them doesn’t really know what’s going on, but I am glad he’s going to get to see it in the future and enjoy it.”

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