Rochester’s Oak Hill Country Club, the green carpet designed by Donald Ross and opened in 1924, is one of the most challenging golf courses in the world. Jon Rahm had never played in it and in the 105th edition of the PGA Championship, the second major of the season, he is fighting and suffering tremendously. As if that were not enough, the strong and continuous rain was the main protagonist of the only great one that no Spaniard has won. Eight bogeys and a double bogey in the initial 36 holes countered with six birdies to start the third round with +4, nine shots behind the list of leaders made up of the American Scheffler, his great rival for number one in the world ranking, the Norwegian Hovland and Canadian Conners.
“I can still give a scare. I am far away but there is a lot of golf left”, said Rahm who played great golf on the second day but botched it with inaccurate putts that couldn’t find the hole in situations where the 28-year-old Spaniard is normally unbeatable. Herculean challenge for the ‘Lion of Barrika’… who It started very badly with a bogey on hole 1, after throwing the ball from the tee into the fairway bunker, and another green for the card on hole 2. The comeback attempt started in the worst possible way. Monumental anger from Rahm who unloaded his anger with an ambient sound microphone in a reprehensible gesture that will cost him a few thousand euros in sanctions from the PGA.
Hole 3 followed the same path but with an excellent putt from four meters he saved par. Jon’s intense gaze. Birdie at 4 against a field that was defended with torrential rain that drenched the players to the bone and drenched some greens that held but began to soften too much. A mirage. Hole 5 saw his third bogey and the return to +6. Ahead of half a dozen very difficult holes to defeat and with the water falling hard to complicate them more, which meant that Thinking of any final victory option for the Spaniard would be a miracle.
“Oh my God, what bad luck”, Rahm shouted to heaven on the 8th tee. After the pars at 6 and 7 came another bogey, the fourth. To the problems with the putter of the first two days was added that the short game did not flow. Rahm was not sharp as was reflected in a shot of barely a meter in the 9 trying to reach the green. fifth bogey to reach the equator of the third tour. And the sixth in 10, third in a row, +9. When everything was worse… the magician appeared. First open smile on the 13th hole after a birdie that was much applauded by the public… which he repeated on the 14th and also on the 17th. The rest were even. Thus, fixed tremendously his return to close it with 72 shots (+2) for a total of +6 when he went to +9.
“Yes, it’s been hard. It is a very difficult course in perfect conditions, because with a wet day from the beginning… It is the day that the caddy wins the floor more than another. One day of fighting, it’s the only thing you can do. In the end I have fixed the round, in the last eight holes I have had the luck that I needed. Let’s see if a good day comes out tomorrow, and I give myself options to stay up there ”, Rahm said. The other Spaniard who made the cut, Pablo Larrazábal, finished with +8, +4 on the day.
Unfortunately, neither of them seems to have any chance of fighting over a triumph in New York, which still has several contenders, although the best placed with 18 holes to go are Koepka (-6), Hovland (-5) and Conners (-5).