Jon Rahm writes a tome of British Open history

There’s a reason Saturday is swing day at a golf tournament. The day to do few, to climb the table. And the day that Jon Rahm chose to uncover the jar of essences at the 151st British Open in Royal Liverpool. Wow, the Biscayne moved, the storm that did not appear, despite what was announced by the weather forecast, on the Wirral Peninsula. Taking advantage of more advantageous conditions than expected, he progressed with -8 to -6 and third place alone, the best maneuver of his turn and of his career in the big ones (also that of any Spaniard), which confirms him as a candidate for the Jarra de Clarete after two gray laps on Thursday and Friday.

It was an almost complete deployment. He just lacked a bit of precision off the tee, but he didn’t care because his irons were sharp this time, and he put all his metrics from previous days on distance to the pin to the test. He was going hunting, in one of those moments in which, he himself said at the beginning of the year, when he secured three victories in just one month, he feels “invincible”. After stringing together four consecutive entry pars, a good opportunity to return at 2 wasted, he began the show with a birdie at fifth, the first par 5 of the day. At 7, one of the few greens that failed, she raked par with a chip and putt, as at 8, and at 9 she holed out from seven meters.

That was the first of the four birdies in a row that would be scored, with a four-meter putt at 10, a dart that left it dead at 11 after a tremendous blow from the tee, only 33 meters to the rag, and another at 12, this one from the rough. Pars 13 and 14 preceded another outburst at 15 and 16: Hoylake’s second par 5 squeezed him with an eight-foot putt, and on the last par 4 a tribute was given, the cigar of the day, from ten meters. Her golf on the back nine was pure harmony, a tune that would have been signed by Lennon or McCartney. With a par that at 17 is almost a birdie, and with a new birdie at 18, the par 5 that closes the layout, despite passing the green and leaving the chip short, signed a 63 and a volume of British Open history.

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Because? Because his -8 compared to par (71) is the best round in the history of the tournament, tied with the 62 signed by Branden Grace in 2017 at Royal Birkdale (par 70), which in absolute terms is unparalleled (Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele did the same, but at this year’s US Open). More sugar: No one had shot a 63 at Hoylake in a British Open, with the previous top set at 65 by Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia and Chris DiMarco in other editions. And no one had done it anywhere in the rotation since Shane Lowry’s 2019 win at Portrush. It is the fourth time that the León de Barrika has reached that figure or surpassed it this season, more than anyone else in the PGA. He already had a 61 in the third round of the Mexico Open, a 62 in the second of the CJ Cup and a 63 on the last day of the Tournament of Champions, which gave him victory.

youI heard all this, on a day that started like Friday, with an infamous tie on the first hole. Then he made -1 and it seemed that this would not be his Open. Now many would bet to see him lifting the Claret Jug on Sunday. For things like these, Arnold Palmer said that golf is “the best game humanity has ever invented.”

A problem named Brian Harman

Rahm’s only problem this happy Saturday has a name: Brian Harman, the American left-hander who was already sixth last year at St. Andrews, and second at the 2017 US Open, who came out with a five-shot lead and went to bed with them after -2 for -12, immune to the pressure exerted by Rahm and other contenders. Among them, the Norwegian Viktor Hovland, -5 for -5, who came out in the stellar match in 2022 and finished fourth, and who will play with Jon in the penultimate game on Sunday, starting at 3:05 p.m. (Movistar Golf) in mainland Spain. Cameron Young will also have something to say, -5 for -7 and second solo. Otaegui, on the other hand, was left out of the fight with a +6 for +4 that left him 63rd. And it seems unlikely, after Tommy Fleetwood’s par for -5, that a new English champion will be crowned, and it’s been 31 years since Nick Faldo won at Muirfield.

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