14 Jun 2022

U.S. Open flashback: Jon Rahm secures maiden Major Championship

The third Major of the men’s schedule gets underway this month with The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts welcoming golf’s biggest names for the fourth time in U.S. Open history.

The USGA have a habit of setting up U.S. Open courses to be extremely punishing ñ often pushing players and fans to their limit – and if history is anything to go by The Country Club will be offer another stern test for the game’s elite. When Francis Ouimet won there in 1913 he finished with a total of +13 while Julius Boros signed for a +9 on his way to victory in 1963. Curtis Strange reversed the trend with a -6 closing round as he emerged victorious over Nick Faldo in 1988.

The course will look very different next month with the USGA confirming it will play 250 yards longer at 7,264 yards and to a par of 70, having been a par-71 for the previous two editions and par-73 in 1913. This year’s championship course will also add the 11th hole from the main course, a par 3 at 131 yards, and lose No. 4.

The 10th hole has been shortened from a 515-yard par-5 to a 499-yard par-4. The 14th, previously 450 yards, is now 619 yards and will play as a par-5.

Here, we take a look at Jon Rahm’s triumph from last year.

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Jon Rahm got his hands on Major silverware for the very first time with arguably one of the greatest finishes in U.S. Open history at last year’s tournament.

On a breathless final day at Torrey Pines there were five players tied for the lead and as many again one stroke behind at one point on the front nine. But then the back nine bit back and boy did it bite hard.

Rory McIlroy, who had started the round two shots off the lead, looked to be a danger throughout until a double bogey on the 12th put paid to his chances while Bryson DeChambeau saw his hopes flounder after dropping four shots in three holes from the 11th before taking eight shots on the par-4 17th. The duo were joined by many others who saw their tee shots became increasingly wayward and birdies evermore scarce as a series of errors by those near the top of the leaderboard changed the scene dramatically.

That left Rahm and Louis Oosthuizen battling for the title. After successfully navigating the treacherous back nine with seven straight pars, Rahm canned a 25-foot birdie at 17, much to the delight of the packed galleries to move him level with the South African.

Rahm repeated his heroics on the last, sinking an 18-foot birdie putt to claim the lead and close in four-under 67 to edge Oosthuizen by one stroke and end a streak of six consecutive American winners in the event.

The victory was made even sweeter by the fact that Rahm had been leading the Memorial Tournament two weeks prior by a commanding six strokes before a positive coronavirus test kept him out of the final round.

“I’m a big believer in karma and after what happened a couple of weeks ago, I stayed really positive knowing that big things were coming,” said Rahm.

“I didn’t know what it was going to be but I knew we were coming to a special place. I got my breakthrough win here and it’s a very special place for my family.

“The fact my parents were able to come, I got out of Covid protocol early, I just felt like the stars were aligning.”

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