In an exciting final nine holes that saw many players collapse, Spaniard John Rahm was able to capitalise and win the 2021 US Open at Torrey Pines.
Heading into the final nine holes behind leader then leader Bryson DeChambeau, Rahm was able to keep his composure with two late birdies on 17 and 18 to outlast the collapse of the rest of the field around him.
Rahm's win at Torrey Pines came merely a week and a half after he was sensationally pulled from the Memorial tournament due to a positive Covid test result, seeing him unable to finish the tournament with a six-shot lead. Rahm credited his family and a positive mindset in what turned out to be a comeback for the ages off the course.
“I'm a big believer in karma,” Rahm said. “After what happened a couple of weeks ago, I stayed really positive knowing big things were coming. I didn't know what it was going to be ... I got out of COVID protocol early. I just felt like the stars were aligning.”
The back nine proved to be the achilles heel for most during the final round, with a number of big names unable to tame the beast like Rahm.
DeChambeau had a fall from grace of the ages during his final round at Torrey Pines. With the outright lead heading into his final nine, DeChambeau crumbled finishing with a 44 including a quadruple bogey on the par-4 17th.
A number of others also tripped and fell late when in contention. South African favourite Louis Oosthuizen had the lead heading into his final handful of holes before a three shot swing after a disappointing bogey at 17 saw him require an eagle on the par-5 18th to secure a playoff spot against the clubhouse leader Rahm. With a short pitch left to force the playoff, Oosthuizen played his shot slightly long to secure Rahm his first US Open title.
After birdies at 13 and 15, Brooks Koepka looked to be in control late. At -4 with three holes to go, Koepka bogeyed 16 and 18 to finish a tie for fourth along with fellow American Colin Morikawa and Italian Guido Migliozzi. A back nine 39 for Rory McIlroy saw the Irishmen also fall down the leaderboard to -1 along with five others, extending his long awaited return to the winners circle in a Major.
The next tournament on the PGA tour is the Travelers Championship on the 24th of June to be played at TPC River Highlands, with defending champion Dustin Johnson looking to bounce back from his own US Open disappointment.