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Monday, April 15, 2024

Storybook Finish

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SAN DIEGO—Whether it was destiny or karma was of no relevance to Jon Rahm. He won the US Open on Sunday at Torrey Pines, the perfect time and the perfect place to become a major champion.

How it unfolded was beyond his dreams.

One shot behind and running out of holes, Rahm made a sweeping, left-to-right birdie putt from 25 feet on the 17th hole to tie for the lead, and closed with another bending 18-foot birdie putt that gave him a one-shot victory over hard-luck Louis Oosthuizen.

No one had ever birdied the last two holes to win the US Open by one shot in the previous 120 editions of the toughest test in golf until Rahm’s storybook finish.

“It had to happen in a beautiful setting like this,” he said.

At Torrey Pines, where he made a 50-foot eagle putt on the final hole to clinch his first Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour victory.

On Father’s Day, with his 10-week-old son in his arms and his father having flown in from Spain to witness his son winning his first major to return to No. 1 in the world.

And just two weeks after his six-shot lead was wiped out at the Memorial because of a positive Covid-19 test that knocked him out of the tournament and cut into his US Open preparations.

“It felt like such a fairy tale story that I knew it was going to have a happy ending,” Rahm said after those two career-changing birdies gave him a four-under 67. “I could just tell, going down the fairway after that first tee shot, that second shot, and that birdie, I knew there was something special in the air. I could just feel it.

“I just knew that I could do it and believed it.”

He picked up two prizes Sunday. First, he cradled young Kepa when he walked off the 18th green with the roars still ringing in his ears. Then, he hoisted that silver US Open trophy, the first champion from Spain.

Rahm was on the practice range when Oosthuizen, who fell two shots behind with a most untimely tee shot into the canyon that led to bogey on the 17th hole, failed to hole out his wedge for eagle at the end.

“Little man, you have no idea what this means right now,” Rahm said to his son. “You will soon enough.”

The final round was so tight that six players had a share of the lead at some point, and there were 10 players separated by a single shot.

And then that special brand of US Open chaos hit everyone but Rahm, the only contender not to drop a shot on the back nine.

Image courtesy of AP

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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