Two hours late due to the morning frost, Jon Rahm came out to the 10th tee at the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester (New York) to storm the only major that is not in the trophy room of any Spanish golfer, the PGA Championship. The ‘León de Barrika’ (28 years old) arrives at the 105th edition of the tournament with the firm intention of breaking that ‘black legend’ and, incidentally, adding the third major to his record, after the US Open 2021 and the Augusta Masters 2023, 75% of the Grand Slam.
Accompanied in the match by two other major winners, the British Matt Fitzpatrick (US Open 2022) and the Australian Cameron Smith (The Open Championship 2022), the Spaniard showed that the waiting time did not affect his concentration and launched a long and Precise driver from the center of the fairway of 297 meters to after making a putt close to five meters to start defeating the North American field. Birdie and -1 to start dyeing your starting card red on the par 70 green carpet.
Par on the first 3 of the course and the same on the next one close to continuing down with an aggressive putt from four meters that licked the hole. Rahm showed security and his outputs were remote controlled to the center of the streets in the initial challenges. He also complied with what was established in the 13th (4th of his round) and the first complication came in the next one when he threw the ball into the bunker. The Oak Hill sand traps, a course that is already a very demanding challenge overall, always give extra problems, but Rahmbo pulled on his hat to even give himself a birdie option that he could not take advantage of.
DAY TO FORGET.
From then on it was all bad news. On the following holes (16, 17 and 18; 7, 8 and 9 of his tour) three consecutive bogeys, all preceded by blows that came out too loosely from the Spaniard’s iron, who swore in Aramaic. 37 hits midway through the day, +2 for him. Exciting start, central part with too many errors. It was time to resurface and dye green red. Nobody particularly stood out among the players in the morning matches, with barely a dozen below par, including the great rival for number one (Scottie Scheffler, -3 at the end of his 18 holes), but it was necessary regain confidence. And it didn’t come…
The hole par that started the second nine gave way to two more bogeys for a disturbing +4 after five bogeys in six holes. Rahm urgently needed to turn the tables and get into a good dynamic. The par 5 on hole 4 (13th for Jon) was a fantastic opportunity that he couldn’t birdie either. It was not the day for the Spaniard who saw how absolutely nothing came of it and added a new bogey at number 6… and a double bogey at number 7. The birdie at number 8 left Rahm’s card at 76 shots (+6). Making the cut should be the goal on Friday (19:58) before I can think of other things. Otaegui and Arnaus delivered a +5 card, while Larrazábal began his day in the afternoon game.