SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm is human after all.
The 28-year-old Spaniard made a mess of the fifth hole, and his emotions at times got the better of him as he posted 2-over 74 at the South Course at Torrey Pines and finished T-7.
Bidding for wins in three consecutive starts, Rahm struggled from the get-go, shooting 3-over 39 on the front nine and never was a factor in determining the champion of the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open on Saturday.
Rahm entered the final round in second place, two strokes behind Sam Ryder. Not only was he trying to become the first player to win three consecutive starts on the PGA Tour since Dustin Johnson in 2017, but he would have returned to World No. 1 for the first time since last March.
Rahm confirmed that Torrey Pines, where he won the Farmers in 2017 and the U.S. Open in 2021, was his favorite course, but in the final round it turned into a love-hate relationship.
On a course where he averaged just a shade over 67, better than even Tiger Woods, Rahm missed a 9-foot par putt on the first hole to drop four strokes behind, and it only got worse when he drove left into a fairway bunker at the fifth hole. With his ball near the lip, he pulled his approach and it hit the cart path and bounced left into juicy rough.
“If it just stays in the rough I have an up-and-down chance, hits the cart path and goes to a dead spot,” he said. “I got the worst possible lie in the rough. Anytime I was in the rough, I was just dead as could be.”
He flubbed two pitch shots at the fifth and had to hole a 9-foot putt to save double bogey. He got a stroke back with a birdie at the par-5 sixth but took his anger out on the seventh tee box, slamming the head of his driver into the turf in disgust, when his drive failed to fade and found another fairway bunker. It led to another bogey.
Rahm had chances at Nos. 8 and 9 to claw closer but couldn’t get the putts to drop. CBS’s Dottie Pepper observed that Rahm was taking a couple of extra seconds longer standing over the ball on the greens. After gaining more than two strokes on the greens in the third round (ranked ninth), he lost more than a stroke to the field in the final round (ranked 55th of 73 in the field).
Rahm could have regained No. 1 with a runner-up or solo-third depending on where reigning World No. 1 Rory McIlroy finishes at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour (concluding Monday). But that became a moot point as Rahm, who rocketed from T-116 after an opening-round 73 and the wrong side of the cutline on Thursday with five holes to go to the final group on Saturday, couldn’t mount a charge to keep his hot streak intact. Only rounds of 75 and 77 on the weekend at the South Course in the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open were higher than his final-round 74 in 28 combined rounds at Torrey Pines (both North and South).
“I knew it would be a tough day,” he said. “I knew a couple under probably would have had a chance, but I just didn’t have it.”
Still, he’s been a force to be reckoned and will next tee it up at his hometown event, the WM Phoenix Open, not far from where he played at Arizona State, in two weeks.