On Saturday, Jon Rahm was not spectacular on the front nine at the Tour Championship, but he wasn’t bad. The back nine was a different story.
Entering this week’s Tour Championship, Jon Rahm was arguably the hottest golfer in the world. The 25-year-old was coming off a win at last week’s BMW Championship, when he made a 66-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to top Dustin Johnson.
That came after Rahm tied for sixth place at the Northern Trust in Boston in the first FedEx Cup playoff event of the season. And that came just two weeks after Rahm tied for 13th at the season’s first major, the PGA Championship, at Harding Park in San Francisco.
More from Pro Golf Now
- Golf Rumors: LIV set to sign Masters Champion in stunning deal
- Fantasy Golf: Grant Thornton Invitational DFS Player Selections
- Brutal return leaves Will Zalatoris looking towards 2024
- Stars You Know at World Champions Cup Starts Thursday at Concession
- Fantasy Golf: An Early Look at the 2024 Masters Tournament
Rahm entered the Tour Championship in second place, trailing only Johnson, and he started the week two shots behind DJ. That deficit did not last long, as Rahm caught Johnson in Friday’s first round by shooting a 5-under par. Both players entered Saturday’s second round at 13-under par for the tournament.
Rahm’s day did not get off to a spectacular start, but it wasn’t awful, either. He would actually par the first four holes of his round, unable to give himself any realistic birdie opportunities.
The fifth hole was a different story. Rahm’s drive was a beauty, covering 338 yards and landing in the fairway. He had 112 yards for his second shot and was able to stick his approach shot within five feet of the hole. He would make the putt to record his first birdie of the round and to get to 14-under for the tournament.
From there, Rahm would par three straight before reaching the ninth hole. On the par three, his tee shot came up short, and his pitch was not the greatest, leaving him about 13 feet for par. He missed the putt and would take a bogey to finish the front nine with an even-par 35.
Rahm started the back nine with a par on the 10th hole, but on the 11th hole, another par-3, Rahm came up short again. And just like on the ninth hole, it led to a bogey. This one left Rahm at 1-over par for the day.
He seemed to recover, with pars on the 12th, 13th and 14th holes. He would be 1-over par for the day with just four holes to play.
And that’s where the wheels came off.
On yet another par-3, Rahm came up short again, and this one was more costly because his ball landed in the water. After a drop, he hit his third shot onto the green, then two-putted for a double bogey.
Seemingly startled, Rahm pulled his tee shot on 16 into the left rough. He pitched back into the fairway, then hit his approach shot to about 30 feet. Two putts later, Rahm was in with a bogey and suddenly found himself 4-over for the day.
Rahm had pars on the final two holes, where birdies were expected, to finish with a 4-over par 74. In the process, he fell from a tie for first into a tie for fifth place. He’s now four shots behind DJ for the event.
However, as he proved last week, Rahm can rally from deficits to get back into tournaments. This deficit was self-inflicted, but Rahm still has a chance with 36 holes to play.