Most of the golf world got introduced to Jon Rahm in 2015 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The then ASU student finished in a tie for fifth as an amateur and got people talking about his professional future.
If that was his introduction to the masses, then this week at Torrey Pines was his coming out party.
Amongst a crowded leader board that saw seven guys have at least a tie at the top throughout the day, Rahm fired a back 9 30 that featured eagles on the par 5 13th and 18th. The eagle at 13 moved him into a share of the lead, while the eagle at 18 was a mesmerizing 60 foot double breaking putt that gave him a 3 shot lead and slammed the door on his first win. That putt on 18 caught the attention of more than just the commentators and those watching. Phil Mickelson took notice as well.
”I think he’s more than just a good young player,” Mickelson said. ”I think he’s one of the top players in the world. I think there’s an intangible that some guys have where they want to have the pressure, they want to be in that tough position, they want to have everything fall on their shoulders. And he has that.”
More impressive than the eagle putt at 18, might have been the way he went about making eagle at 13. After hitting his drive right and into a fairway bunker, he grabbed a 4 hybrid and went for the green in 2, knocking his second shot to 18 feet. While most would look for the best place to lay up out of the bunker, Rahm never even thought about it.
“It’s a Spanish mindset,” Rahm said. “I feel like we are pretty aggressive, right? I think that’s the mindset probably thanks to Seve (Ballesteros), right?”
With the win, Rahm became only the second golfer ever to win at Torrey Pines in his first time at the event, joining Arnold Palmer who did it in 1957. He also became the first golfer since 1991 to record his first PGA Tour win at Torrey.
“To be able to get my first win on Tour here, it doesn’t get much better than that,” Rahm said.
Rahm returns this week to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the same event he played two years ago and nearly won as an amateur. We will have to wait and see how he finishes this week but one thing is for sure, he won’t be showing up under the radar anymore.
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