How Jon Rahm Won The 2021 US Open
JON RAHM claimed his first major 12 months ago after finishing with back-to-back birdies on an astonishing final day of the US Open at Torrey Pines.
Rahm, 26, screamed with joy after his putt on the 18th took him to six under and gave him a one-shot lead over South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen. Oosthuizen then bogeyed the 17th, meaning he needed to eagle the last to force a play-off but could only birdie.
Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau challenged but faded late on. Both players held a share of the lead early in the round but were among many to struggle on the back nine, while Rahm was the only contender to not drop a shot in the closing holes.
The victory came two weeks after Rahm was forced to withdraw from the Memorial at Muirfield Village while leading by six shots after three rounds because of a positive coronavirus test. Later in the year he would have to miss the Olympic Games after succumbing to Covid once again.
He said that his main concern when he was first struck down was for his wife and two-month-old baby. And he was able to celebrate with them on Father's Day after a four-under-par 67, the joint lowest score of the day.
"You have no idea what this means right now," he said to his son Kepa after hearing of Oosthuizen's closing birdie. "You will soon enough."
The leaderboard was congested after a flurry of birdies on the front nine, but it was a different story on the back nine.
Oosthuizen was the last to fall when he dropped a shot on the 17th and he could not repeat the sensational eagle he made on the 18th in the third round, which had given him a share of the overnight lead.
The South African, who won the 2010 Open Championship, also shot a closing 67. "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."
Rahm played the back nine in two under par, carding seven pars before the grandstand finish saw him become the first Spaniard to win the US Open.
"I'm a big believer in karma and after what happened a couple of weeks ago, I stayed really positive knowing that big things were coming," said Rahm, who won his first PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines in 2017.
"I didn't know what it was going to be but I knew we were coming to a special place. I got my breakthrough win here and it's a very special place for my family.
"The fact my parents were able to come, I got out of Covid protocol early, I just felt like the stars were aligning."
Rahm dedicated his win to Spanish legend Seve Ballesteros, who claimed five major titles but died a decade earlier of brain cancer at the age of 54.
"I knew my best golf was to come and I have a hard time explaining what just happened because I can't believe I made the last two putts and I'm the first Spanish player to win the US Open," Rahm continued.
"This is definitely for Seve - I know he tried a lot, I know he wanted to win this one most of all."
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