First Blood for Rahmbo! – 2021 US Open Champion
On a topsy-turvy final day, Jon Rahm celebrated his first Father’s Day with his first major.
Another win for the “nappy factor”!
Richard Bland the 48-year-old journeyman was the story of the first half of this U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
After finally stepping into the winner’s circle recently, an early thrust by Bland saw him as the halfway leader, the oldest man to do that. Unfortunately, the course bit back over the weekend and he fell back with rounds of 77 and 78.
Big Names Jostle
Over the weekend as the finish line approached some big names gravitated towards the top of the leaderboard.
|T1||L.Oosthuizen, M.Hughes, R.Henley||-5|
|T4||R.McIlroy, B. DeChambeau||-3|
|T6||J.Rahm, S.Scheffler, M.Wolff||-2|
|T9||D.Johnson, C.Morikawa, C.Bezuidenhout, X.Schauffele, K.Streelman||-1|
|T14||B.Koepka, J.Thomas, P.Casey, I.Poulter, F.Molinari, S.Im, H.English||level|
With eight major champions within five shots of the lead with a round to go, it looked like a fantastic finish was in the offing. Few could have expected the blowups on the back nine though!
Early bursts by Morikawa and Koepka saw them get to four and three under respectively. Unfortunately like many of the other challengers they came a cropper early in the back nine.
Morikawa hit a poor layup on 13 and paid the price with a double bogey which included a thinned wedge! He never recovered and finished tied fourth.
Koepka did what he needed to do on the front nine, shooting 32. He hit one of the best shots of the day on the 11th but he missed the birdie and then three-putted 12 which probably gave him too much to do. His bogey on 18 was the final nail in the coffin.
One of the overnight leaders, Mackenzie Hughes had managed to hold on through the front nine with only one dropped shot. The Canadian came to grief on the 11th with a hooked tee shot that finished stuck in a tree. Hopes of a Langer-esque escape evaporated when he decided to take a drop. The resulting double-bogey pushed him out of contention.
Another of the 54 hole leaders, Henley had played himself out of the Championship on the front nine. A trio of bogeys had all but ended his interest.
McIlroy’s major drought continues. A reasonable front nine got him into a decent position at four-under before 3 putting 11. A double-bogey on the next caused mainly by a horrid lie in a greenside bunker means his wait to add to his tally of 4 majors goes on.
The other Brit to seriously challenge was Paul Casey. A run of birdies from the 7th to the ninth got him into a good position before he did his chances in with bogey, double-bogey on 11 and 12.
For a brief period, it looked like an Englishman might have a chance. Harris English that is. After he finished at three-under and with the carnage going on early in the front nine that may have been good enough to win. Unfortunately for Harris, it was only good for 3rd place.
Defending champion, DeChambeau had vowed to bomb and gouge his way to glory as he had at Winged Foot. All seemed to be going quite well until the 11th where he went bogey, bogey before adding a nice double on the par-5 13th after a poor drive and layup. To add insult to injury he got a snowman on the 17th to drop down into a tie for 26th place.
In the end, it came down to a shootout between Spain’s Jon Rahm and Louis Oosthuizen from South Africa.
The Spaniard played the best golf by the leaders on the back nine and his birdie, birdie finish left him six under par.
Oosthuizen’s bogey on 17 left him needing an eagle at the last for a play-off. His birdie meant that Spain had its first winner of the U.S. Open. Oosthuizen now has six major runners-up finishes!
Rahmbo Comes of Age
Since he burst onto the professional scene a few years ago Rahm quickly rose to the top of the rankings and had become one of the best players never to win a major.
It will be interesting to see how he fares the next few years now that he has that monkey off his back.
Will he take his foot off the gas perhaps, like some do when they get their first major and be content with that? I don’t think he will, he appears to be a winner. This could be the first of quite a few majors.
First Blood for Rahmbo!: Conclusion
Victory probably tastes all the sweeter given he had to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament with a big lead due to a positive Covid test.
Final Standings 2021 US Open Championship
|2||Louis Oosthuizen||South Africa||-5|
What’s in the Bag: Jon Rahm 2021 US Open Champion
DRIVER: Callaway Epic Speed (Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft), 10.5 degrees
FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Epic Speed (Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft), 15 degrees, (Graphite Design Tour AD SI-8 shaft), 19 degrees
IRONS: Callaway Apex TCB (Project X 6.5 shafts), 4-PW
WEDGES: Callaway JAWS Forged (Project X 6.5 shafts), 52, 56, 60 degrees
PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot OG Rossie S
BALL: Callaway Chrome Soft X