Jun 21st, 2021
Rahm wins U.S. Open at Torrey Pines
Spaniard grabs first major title following birdies at the last two holes
Words: GolfPunk Photography: USGA
Rahm had holed a twenty-five-foot curling left to right putt for birdie at the 17th to join Louis Oosthuizen in the lead and after finding the greenside bunker with his second at the last the 26-year-old left himself another slippery left to right putt.
In scenes reminiscent of Tiger Woods in 2008, the birdie putt looked good from the moment Rahm struck it and this time, the ball went into the middle of the cup. It gave Rahm a one shot lead and given all that had gone before, it was looking like the winning putt a fact not lost on Rahm.
"I'm a big believer in karma, and after what happened a couple weeks ago I stayed really positive knowing good things were coming," Rahm said.
Rahm dedicated his win to the late Severiano Ballesteros who won five majors but never managed to win the U.S. 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."
Oosthuizen stood on the 17th tee needing to find a birdie in the last two holes to force a playoff but proceeded to pull his drive left into the hazard. Despite a good approach with his third the South African missed his par putt leaving him with the daunting task of having to eagle the last.
When Oosthuizen's third to the 18th stayed above ground, the title was Rahm's. Oosthuizen holed his tricky birdie putt but finished runner up in a major for the sixth time since his Open win in 2010 and the second in 2021.
"It's frustrating. It's disappointing," Oosthuizen said.
"I'm playing good golf, but winning a major championship is not just going to happen. You need to go out and play good golf."
On a helter-skelter final day the cream seemed to come to the top when McIlroy, DeChambeau and Koepka all made a run at the lead only to falter and fade over the back nine.
McIlroy started two shots off the lead and briefly grabbed a share of the lead before disaster struck at the 12th hole. A loose second was cruelly punished as the ball found a virtually unplayable lie plugged in the back of a greenside bunker. The Northern Irishman took double bogey and never recovered.
Mcilroy finished with a two-over 73 to finish joint seventh on one-under, alongside leading Englishman Paul Casey (70).
DeChambeau's collapse was even more dramatic. The American shared the lead on five-under after ten holes when he started to miss the fairway and even his immense strength could not save him.
A run of two bogies and a double bogey from the 11th tee put paid to his chances and a horrendous eight at the 17th saw him plummet to a share of twenty-sixth after his closing 77.
"I didn't get off the rails at all. It's golf. People will say I did this or did that, and it's just golf, said Dechambeau when questioned about his collapse.
"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."
Brooks Koepka, who started five back from the lead, made the expected charge and when he birdied the 15th, he was well in the hunt for the title. However, two late bogies, including one at the last, saw Koepka have to settle for a 69 and a share of fourth.
Rusell Henley and Mackenzie Hughes, who shared the overnight lead with Oosthuizen, both struggled on Sunday. Henley closed with a 76 to finish tied-thirteenth on level-par. Hughes was one shot worse after leaking shots down the stretch to finish with a 77.
Ian Poulter had a disappointing final round of 77 which left him tied fortieth a shot ahead of lee Westwood who also closed with a 77. Tommy Fleetwood was a further shot back on eight-over following his round of 73.