PGA Tour: Jon Rahm holds off rookie Davis Thompson to win The American Express in California | Golf News

Jon Rahm secured his fourth worldwide win in six starts as he held off rookie Davis Thompson in the final round of The American Express in California; A birdie on the 16th gave Rahm the lead with Thompson winding up with par

Last Updated: 23/01/23 6:50am

Rahm pulled away from Thompson on the final three holes to secure the win at The American Express

Rahm pulled away from Thompson on the final three holes to secure the win at The American Express

Jon Rahm held off rookie Davis Thompson to win his second PGA Tour title this year at The American Express in California.

Rahm, who shot a 68, and 23-year-old Thompson, who shot a 69, were tied with three holes to play on the PGA West Stadium Course when Thompson, who led through 36 holes and shared the lead with Rahm going into Sunday, pulled his drive into a deep fairway bunker on the par-five 16th and wound up with par. Rahm made birdie to take the lead.

On the par-three 17th, the American chose to leave the pin in for his 50-foot birdie putt on the island green, and the ball squarely hit the pin and rolled away, the Georgia native showing his frustration as he walked to the 18th tee after tapping in for par.

Rahm finished with a 27-under 261 and won for the ninth time on the PGA Tour while the Spaniard will move up one spot in the world rankings to number three after his performance at La Quinta.

“Had I had the same putting I had yesterday or Friday, it probably would’ve been a runaway victory, but can’t ask for everything,” Rahm said.

“You learn in every single situation, and today was definitely a stressful day.

“Got a little lucky that Davis’ putt didn’t go in on 17 and a little fortunate that his ball just got over the green on 18.

“What a heck of a player he is. He’s doing all the right things and wouldn’t be surprised if he wins soon, because he gave me a real battle today and it was a lot of fun. I’m sure there’ll be many to come.”

Thompson, in his 20th PGA Tour start, settled for solo second at 26 under, his best career finish.

Thompson was satisfied with his second place finish at La Quinta

Thompson was satisfied with his second place finish at La Quinta

“I usually always leave the stick in from a long distance,” Thompson said of the putt at No. 17.

“I feel like it helps me with my speed. I’ll probably play the what if’ game in my head for a long time, unfortunately.

“I had a great read. I probably hit it too firm. If it had great speed, it would have just hit the flag and dropped. But we’ll never know. I’m proud of myself for this week.”

Scottie Scheffler closed with a 67 and tied for 11th after he narrowly missed a birdie putt on the final hole that would have allowed him to return to world No.1 by a fraction of a point over Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy.

The Briton and current world No.1 will make his 2023 debut in Dubai on the European tour next week.

Earlier in the day, Xander Schauffele holed out for an albatross on his way to a 10-under 62, tied for the low round of the day. Schauffele tied for third at 25 under with Chris Kirk.

Schauffele’s 225-yard second shot at the par-five fifth hole carried the water and bounced just in front of the green, rolled on and straight into the cup.

He went on to add seven birdies without a bogey.

“I was off a pretty good upslope, so I just tried to hit a 4-iron pretty much at it and have it turn toward the centre wanting to get maximum distance,” Schauffele said.

“Kind of played it out to the right. Hit it really solid. Didn’t say anything (while the ball was) in the air because I was a little bit worried. So it was nice when I saw it hit on ground and then I actually saw it go in. So that was pretty special.”

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