Rahm claims US Open to take 1st major crown; Korda captures Meijer Classic - GulfToday

Rahm claims US Open to take 1st major crown; Korda captures Meijer Classic

Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm celebrates with the trophy along with his family after winning the US Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego on Sunday. Reuters

Jon Rahm made tension-packed long birdie putts on the last two holes on Sunday to win the 121st US Open and capture his first major title, defeating South African Louis Oosthuizen by one stroke.

The 26-year-old Spaniard curled in a spectacular birdie putt from just inside 25 feet at the par-4 17th hole then made his fourth birdie of the week at the par-5 18th, blasting out of a bunker and rolling in an 18-footer to seize the lead.

After stunning, fist-pumping putts to reach the clubhouse, Rahm could only watch 2010 British Open champion Oosthuizen play the last four holes.

At 17, Oosthuizen sent his tee shot left into bushes and made bogey to fall two adrift and a closing birdie only made him a major runner-up for the sixth time in his career.

Rahm fired a four-under par 67, the only leader to go bogey-free on the back nine, to finish 72 holes on six-under 278 with Oosthuizen on 279 and American Harris English third on 281.

On the same course where he won his first US PGA title in 2017, Rahm became only the fourth US Open winner to close with back-to-back birdies, matching Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Ben Hogan. He became the first Spaniard to win a US Open and the fourth to capture a major title after Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal and the late Seve Ballesteros.

Third-ranked Rahm also became the new world number one after top-ranked Dustin Johnson shared 19th on 286. Rahm topped the rankings briefly last year after winning the Memorial, but tested positive for Covid-19 during the event two weeks ago and spent last week in quarantine. At 17, Rahm curled the tension-packed putt from left to right with six feet of break, watched the ball fall into the cup and punched the air with his right fist.

Rahm went to the 18th hole, the easiest finishing hole in US Open history, and delivered an amazing putt and a right fist uppercut. Rahm had seven prior top-10 major finishes without a triumph, including a share of third at the 2019 US Open.

Contenders collapse: The world’s five top-ranked players and four-time major winners Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka were within three strokes of the lead early as the tension grew. But one by one, the rivals faded, leaving only Rahm and Oosthuizen to grind out pars into the final holes.

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau had two bogeys and two double bogeys on the back nine on his way to a 77 to share 26th on 287.

Four-time major winner McIlroy made bogey at 11 and double bogey at 12 on his way to a 73 to share seventh on 283.

Korda Shines: Nelly Korda closed with a five-under 67 at the Meijer Classic on Sunday to become the first two-time winner on the LPGA Tour this season.

The 22-year-old American Korda finished at 25-under 263 to beat Ireland’s Leona Maguire by two strokes and break the tournament record at the Blythefield Country Club course in the US state of Michigan.

Maguire finished solo second after shooting a 66.

World No. 4 Korda and the others used this week’s event as a tuneup for the Women’s PGA Championship which is scheduled for next week in the southern US city of Atlanta.

Korda started her final round with a three shot lead after rolling in 11 birdies en route to a career best 62 in the third round. She joined a short list of players who have drained 11 birdies in a round, second only to Annika Sorenstam’s record 13 birdies in a 2001 LPGA Tour round.  Korda bounced back this week after missing the cut two weeks ago at the US Women’s Open. This marks her fifth career title.

Chun In-Gee shot a 63 to tie for third with Brittany Altomare (64) at 21 under. Swede Anna Nordqvist was next at 20 under after a 66.

Agence France-Presse

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