Golf: Third straight win on Rahm’s mind at Torrey Pines

Jon Rahm of Spain reacts after winning on the 18th green during the final round of The American Express. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES – Jon Rahm is playing lights-out golf and believes he can get even better.

The Spanish star, up to No. 3 in the world rankings, has won each of his past two starts and is high on confidence at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open, which started on Wednesday and ends on Saturday to avoid television conflict with the National Football League’s two conference championship playoff games on Sunday.

A win this week at Torrey Pines in San Diego, the site of his first PGA Tour victory six years ago, would make Rahm the first player since Dustin Johnson in 2017 to win from three consecutive starts on tour.

“It is on my mind,” Rahm said. “I’ve been reminded of it many, many times. And even more so knowing where we’re coming, a place where I’ve played so good at. But I still need to go out there and shoot a very low score to win.”

Only two other golfers in the past 15 years have won three consecutive tournaments – Rory McIlroy in 2014 and Tiger Woods in 2008.

Rahm kicked off the calendar year with a comeback win over Collin Morikawa at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui.

After a week off, he returned to the fairways at last week’s tournament, The American Express in La Quinta, California, where he held off Davis Thompson to capture his ninth PGA Tour title.

Rahm’s body of work at Torrey Pines speaks for itself. His 2017 win at the Farmers Insurance Open came in his tournament debut. After placing 29th in 2018, he has had three top-five finishes since – fifth, second and third. Rahm’s lone Major victory, the 2021 US Open, also took place at the famed course.

“If you consistently can drive it in the fairway here and far enough, you’re obviously going to be able to be more aggressive than most people,” Rahm said, before explaining how to navigate the layout.

“The main thing is predominantly for pretty much almost every hole, the proper miss is to the right, so that’s why Tiger (Woods) has such success here. Sometimes if you miss the fairway by five yards or 100 to the right, it doesn’t matter, just miss it right.”

Amid the questions about his terrific form, he added that he is focused only on doing what he needs to do to prepare for another tournament. He will “step back” and appreciate it when the time is right, and will not take his hot streak for granted.

“I’m aware very few people have been able to do this,” Rahm said.

“I saw some list, think there’s only five or six of us to start the year with two wins – Justin Thomas being the most recent six years ago.

“I’m aware this is very rare and I appreciate it because, if anything, it’s a humbling feeling of how much work you need to put in to be able to do something like this because of the talent you have out there.” REUTERS, AFP

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