Jon Rahm used two late birdies to power through Max Homa for a win at the Genesis Invitational on Sunday that restored the Spaniard to world number one.
Spain’s Rahm won his third US PGA Tour title in 2023 after winning the Tournament of Champions with American Express in La Quinta, California.
It was his fifth win in his last nine worlds, a run that included his third Spanish Open victory in October and victory at the DP World Tour Championship in November.
Rahm enjoyed a win at Riviera Country Club, the classic course west of downtown Los Angeles that has produced champions like Ben Hogan but where, Rahm said, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods never won.
Woods, who hosted this week, was in remarkable form as he returned to competition for the first time since missing the cut at the British Open.
The 15-time major champion, still limited by a serious right leg injury he suffered in a car accident in February 2021, shot a final round 73 to finish at one under 283, tied for the 45th
“It’s progress, but I haven’t won yet,” said Woods, who reiterated that he’s aiming for four major championships and maybe “a couple” of other events this season. – most of his leg can be repaired.
“It was definitely a little more difficult than I let on,” added Woods, who practiced an ice bath between each round to allow him to continue.
“It’s hard,” he pointed out. “Sometimes the body says ‘no’ even though the mind says ‘yes.’
While Woods made big shots throughout the week, those who watched Rahm and Homa duel in the finals were also treated to a show.
Rahm, who claimed the 10th US tour title of his career, said it was a “real honor” to win at Riviera.
“I can’t explain it well,” he said.
However, for a while, it looks like Rahm can let this one go.
He started the day with a three-shot lead over Homa and was up three through eight holes.
Homa closed the gap with a birdie at the ninth and Rahm’s bogey at the par-four 10th, which missed the tee, proved costly as Homa rolled in a six-foot birdie putt to pull away. high on the leaderboard in 16- under decay.
Rahm fell behind with a three-putt bogey on the 12th, where he said he hit two “abysmal” putts.
“If you told me on the ninth tee after that tee that I was going to make one more on the 13th tee, I wouldn’t have believed you because I felt good,” he said. Rahm. “But golf and this golf course can get you.”
After Homa’s 13, Rahm dropped the hammer.
He recovered from his poor drive on the 13th for par, then hit a 46-foot birdie bomb on the 14th.
He pushed his lead to two strokes with a strong birdie at the par-three 16th — where his eight-iron off the tee was “probably the best shot of the week.”
It flew straight over the flag leaving him less than three feet away.
“I think I’m more proud of myself to kind of reset when things get tough,” Rahm said.
Homa, a local fan from nearby Burbank who won the title in 2021, could not find an answer, although he added to the excitement at 18 with a third shot from the left. Lefty jumped over the plate.
He closed with a three-under par 68 for a 15-under par total of 269 – one shot ahead of American Patrick Cantlay, who was tied for third after a 67 that showed birdied five of his first 11 holes.
“I just wanted to push him,” Homa said. “He’s a great golfer. I wanted him to beat me, and I think I did that.”
Rahm, who last held the number one ranking in March 2022, replaced Scottie Scheffler just a week after the American defeated Rory McIlroy to win the Phoenix Open.
With the recent changes in the ranking system, Rahm hopes that such changes will be normal for a while, and he will not use the ranking as a measuring stick.
“I’ve won five of my last nine starts, I’ve never finished worse than the top seven,” he said. “I don’t need a classification to prove anything.
“(I’m) having the best season of my life and hopefully I can continue.”
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