EconomyEditor's PickRahm storms back to win Tournament of Champions

January 9, 2023

JON Rahm overtook Collin Morikawa with a 10-under 63 in the final round to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Sunday in Kapalua, Hawaii.

The Spanish star went five under over a four-hole stretch on the back nine and Mr. Morikawa fumbled his lead by bogeying Nos. 14, 15 and 16. He had played the entire tournament to that point without a bogey, explaining his six-stroke lead on the field entering Sunday.

Mr. Rahm finished at 27-under 265 for the week, with Mr. Morikawa shooting a 72 and having to settle for second at 25-under 267. Tom Hoge (64 on Sunday) and Max Homa (66) tied for third at 23 under. Mr. Rahm, in fact, began his round with a bogey 5 at No. 1, falling seven behind Mr. Morikawa before completing the largest comeback in tournament history.

“You never want to see somebody have a bad day down the stretch,” Mr. Rahm said. “But I feel like with that lead he had, I needed to play really good and he needed to make a couple mistakes.”

Mr. Rahm bounced back with a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-3 second and made three more birdies at Nos. 4-6, including a nearly 21-footer at No. 4, and one more birdie at the ninth.

But the key for Mr. Rahm was holing birdies at the par-4 12th, 13th and 14th holes and converting an eagle at the par-5 15th. Mr. Rahm stuck his approach at No. 12 to about 2 feet and chipped onto the green inside a foot at No. 14. His eagle putt dropped from 11 1/2 feet.

“At that point I got in the thick of things and never did I think that going into my third shot on 17 I was going to have a one-shot lead,” Mr. Rahm said. “That’s when I had to change a bit of the mindset of chasing and needing birdies to, ‘All right, let’s get this up-and-down, hopefully birdie 18 and give ourselves the best chance.’”

Mr. Rahm did birdie No. 18, but a par would have been enough to beat Mr. Morikawa.

After three birdies on the front nine, Mr. Morikawa skulled his shot out of the sand at No. 14 en route to his first bogey. His third shot on the par-5 15th, a pitch shot uphill toward the green, only traveled 7 yards.

By that point, Mr. Rahm was in the lead, and Mr. Morikawa missed a 7-foot par save at No. 16 to add to his misery.

“You work so hard and you give yourself these opportunities and just bad timing on bad shots and kind of added up really quickly,” said Mr. Morikawa, who had at least a share of the lead after the first rounds. “Don’t know what I’m going to learn from this week, but it just didn’t seem like it was that far off. It really wasn’t. — Reuters

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