Jon Rahm produced a stunning final round 63 to overturn a seven-shot deficit and win the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions in Hawaii by two shots.
The Spaniard picked up five shots in four holes on the back nine to overhaul Collin Morikawa, who stumbled with three bogeys coming home.
“I needed to play good and he needed to make a couple mistakes,” said Rahm. “If you told me at the beginning of the round, after that opening bogey, I was going to do what I did I don’t know if I would have believed you.”
It was a third win in six starts for Rahm – after winning in Spain and Dubai late in 2022 – and an eighth PGA Tour title.
Rahm’s round started badly. The 28-year-old missed a seven-foot par putt on the first to fall eight shots behind Morikawa but had five birdies in his next eight holes to improve to 21 under par after nine. However, Morikawa also had a solid front nine, with three birdies taking his score to 27 under at the turn.
Rahm then had three successive birdies from the 12th before carding an eagle three at the par-five 15th to move within one of the lead. Moments later he was joint leader, benefiting from Morikawa thinning a bunker shot across the 14th green and dropping his first shot of the tournament.
“At that point I got in the thick of things and never did I think that going into my third shot on 17 I was going to have a one-shot lead,” said Rahm, who missed the green with his second shot on his penultimate hole. “That’s when I had to change a bit of the mindset of chasing and needing birdies to, ‘let’s get this up-and-down, hopefully birdie 18 and give ourselves the best chance’.”
Rahm led because Morikawa dropped another shot on the 15th. He duffed a simple chip and then missed a seven-foot putt for par. And his short game let him down again on the par-four 16th after a superb drive left him with a 55-yard pitch for his second. He misjudged the spin on his ball and it ended up 70 feet from the hole and he could only three-putt from there.
Rahm suddenly led by two and picked up another birdie on the 648-yard par-five last hole after finding the green in two shots and two-putting from 65 feet. Morikawa also completed the final hole in four shots but his birdie proved scant consolation with Rahm completing the biggest comeback victory in the tournament’s history.
“You work so hard and you give yourself these opportunities,” said the 2021 Open winner, who matched the PGA Tour record held by seven other players of squandering a six-shot lead in the final round. “I just made three poor swings, really, at the wrong times. It’s never a good time to put a poor swing on it, but sometimes it works out and these never worked out. I don’t know what I’m going to learn from this week, but it just didn’t seem like it was that far off. It really wasn’t. Yeah, it sucks.”
Fellow Americans Tom Hoge (64) and Max Homa (66) were joint third on 23 under. Matt Fitzpatrick ended alongside Masters winner Scottie Scheffler – who could have returned to world number one with a higher finish this week – on 21 under after both carded closing 70s.
As well as being superb result for Rahm, the Spaniard’s victory also provided a huge endorsement for his equipment sponsor Callaway, which only last week officially launched the new Paradym range of woods and irons, several of which were in Rahm’s bag. Rahm put the Paradym Triple Diamond driver straight into the bag for this week, and averaged 317.3 yards off the tee –around ten yards more than the field average – whilst his driving accuracy (73.33%) was significantly better than the field (51.67%). Rahm also had two Paradym Triple Diamond fairway woods in play.
JON RAHM’S WINNING GEAR
Driver: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond (10.5°)
Fairway woods: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond (16°)
Irons: Callaway Apex TCB (4-PW)
Wedges: Callaway JAWS Raw (52°, 56°, 60°)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG Rossie S
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X