The anecdote can be told by Jon Rahm to his children: “Once dad was robbed of the ball by some children playing the US Open…”. How? That’s how it went…
Hole 18, the first day of the American Open in which Rahm defends the title he won last year, his first major, the only Spaniard to have won this tournament. The Basque takes out of the bag the drivers, the most powerful club, and his ball flies out of sight. Nobody sees exactly where he has fallen, until he mysteriously appears next to a tent, in a fenced area, next to a generator. Indeed, it is yours, Callaway brand. Someone has found it there following the footsteps of two children who run from the scene with the face of having committed a mischief: supposedly, keeping Rahm’s ball and then disposing of it as if it were a murder weapon. The event itself is confusing, and almost requires a police investigation due to the mystery surrounding such a bizarre episode. Not even Rahm himself knows for sure what happened.
In practice, the hideout, in an artificial zone, means that the champion can drop without penalty. Your second shot on this par four travels to greenand with a putt long signs the birdies and a card of -1, in the top positions (early leaders, Rory McIlroy among them, delivered -3).
The little ones burglars star in the end of a suspense movie. Just on the previous hole, the 17th, Rahm had bordered on drama. His aspirations to revalidate the crown were very close to vanishing. Rahm’s tee ball visits the rough from the left and from the tee number two is driven by demons: “It’s fucking out of bounds!” Believing that he had lost it, he throws a new, provisional ball, but it goes even worse and is lost among the trees and deep vegetation. As he makes his way to the landing zone, a scream wakes him from the bad dream. It is his father, Edorta, who from behind the ropes tells him that his first ball is located, and on top of that it is barely sunk and with a good angle to look for the green. Rahm is even given a choice of birdies that ends in pair
On those two holes Rahm almost had a heart attack. “It seems that he has lowered Seve and has played for me”, snorts the Basque at the end of the round, taking off his cap and touching his beard. “I have played them very differently from what I like. In 17 he knew that the rough to the left was not a problem, but I have been very, very lucky. The luck of the century. And on top of that in a US Open. On the 18th I think my ball ended up in the stands and some kids took it away. Thanks someone has noticed. I saw them running towards me with a careful smile. They have drawn the magic hand. It surprised me because they were the only ones in that direction, the rest went towards green”.
Fortune kissed the champion when the wind had picked up at Brookline and the feeling was no longer as good as it had been at the beginning. After closing the par five of the eight, Rahm was -2 with three birdies in the last four holes and was co-leader. The short game worked, from the tee it was a cannon that left his patrol companions, Morikawa and Piot, stranded, and the field was perfect, a carpet under a calm sky.
The script began to change when the wind blew up and Rahm lacked a bit of decision with the irons. On hole 9 he visited the bunker on the right and the escape was long: two putts Y bogey. At 14, the second par five of the course, another test: fairway missed and an approach shot before reaching a raised platform towards the green. A labyrinthine hole. Saving par at that station and a deflected putt at 15 to stay in peace with the field. The pair was good. With that he was content until those two diabolical last holes arrived, first the fear of the lost balls on 17 and then the mystery of the children who ran off on 18.
“I could have done something. birdies more,” Rahm sighed, “but any time it hits under par at a US Open, welcome.”
US Open qualifying.
Sergio García arrives at the last minute and signs +4
A personal problem caused Sergio Garcia to not set foot on the US Open field until Wednesday afternoon, just 20 hours before the start of his first round. The man from Castellón played the first Saudi league tournament last week, in London, and his arrival in Boston was delayed due to an unforeseen event. With little training, El Niño signed four shots over par and has the cut uphill. The same thing happened to Adri Arnaus, who delivered a +6 card.
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