Rahm cruises with hero's help

Jon Rahm shot a seven-under 65 in the final round of the 18-man Hero World Challenge to sign for a 268 total and a four-stroke victory on Sunday.
Jon Rahm shot a seven-under 65 in the final round of the 18-man Hero World Challenge to sign for a 268 total and a four-stroke victory on Sunday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Spaniard credits putting tips from Woods for third win in 2018

NASSAU • Jon Rahm said he had help from an unlikely source in tournament host Tiger Woods after storming to a four-shot win at the Hero World Challenge.

He was never challenged in Sunday's final round, shooting a seven-under 65 for a 268 total on the Albany course in the Bahamas for his third success this season, his seventh since turning professional two years ago.

The overnight joint-leader finished with three birdies in four holes from the sixth, seven birdies on the day and 25 all week, in a near-flawless performance that moves him to a career high of world No. 6.

In September, he receiving putting tips from boyhood idol Woods at the season-ending Tour Championship that the former world No. 1 went on to win.

He said: "When we were at East Lake, Tiger was putting next to me. I just can't putt on Bermuda (grass) as I had grown up in Spain on poa annua. He kind of laughed and said, 'It's all about feel out there.'

"In presenting me the trophy, he said, 'Hey, that's a pretty good performance from someone who can't putt on Bermuda greens.'"

Later that month, he was drawn in the Ryder Cup Sunday singles against Woods and delivered Europe's first point with a 2-and-1 triumph.

 
 

"That Sunday is one of the most emotional, most important moments in my golf career," he said. "I started crying when I was shaking his hand because that meant so much to me to play against Tiger Woods.

"A couple of months later, to win his event, his foundation's event along with Hero, this is really special."

Justin Rose was denied a chance to return to the top of the world rankings by Tony Finau, who holed a 10-footer to birdie the last hole for a 69 and a 272 total to finish second.

The English world No. 2, who eagled the 15th in a round of 65, had been sharing second spot in the 18-man field before Finau's final flourish. He said: "It's not a huge goal for me to be No. 1 but, when you have these opportunities, you want to take them."

Woods rounded off his full-season return to competition following his fourth major back surgery with a tired-looking 73 to finish 17th on 287, one shot ahead of Japan's Hideki Matsuyama (75).

"The entire year has been amazing and I've just been so blessed to have the opportunity," said the 14-time Major champion, who turns 43 on Dec 30.

"To come from where I came from, to play and compete again and do it consistently is quite amazing."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2018, with the headline 'Rahm cruises with hero's help'. Print Edition | Subscribe