Arizona State's Rahm bombing away at U.S. Amateur

By Ryan LavnerAugust 13, 2014, 10:46 pm

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – That massive oak tree on the left side of the first fairway, the one that requires a 320-yard carry? Covered it.

Those sky-high pines down the right side of No. 10, the ones that force just about everyone to hit 3-wood short of the bunkers? Cleared it.

That sliver of a fairway on the 12th hole, the one seemingly miles away, through the chute in the trees, with the severe bend to the left? Split it.

“He was hitting from places I didn’t know you could hit from out there,” said Beau Hossler, who had the misfortune of being matched up against long-driving Arizona State junior Jon Rahm Wednesday at the 114th U.S. Amateur.

Fresh off his Western Amateur victory, Hossler, 19, was arguably the hottest college kid on the planet. The Texas sophomore is typically long and straight off the tee (albeit 30 yards shorter than Rahm), but his driver abandoned him in the Round of 64. Needing to put the ball in play on a ball-striker’s course like Atlanta Athletic Club, Hossler instead “hit it everywhere.”

Three down early, Rahm took the outright lead midway through the back nine and closed out the match with a 15-footer on 16.

“There’s not much you can do,” Hossler said, shrugging.

“Jon is just a great match-play player,” Arizona State coach Tim Mickelson said by phone. “If he hits a bad shot, he has such a good short game that he’s probably going to make par. In match play, if a guy is able to hit it that far, and also have soft hands, then he’s going to be tough to beat.”

Which Rahm has been all summer.

The 19-year-old advanced to match play at the British Amateur. He won three of his four matches, including the decisive point, during Europe’s stunning victory at the Palmer Cup. He helped Spain win the European Team Championship. Two weeks ago, he captured the Spanish Amateur, shooting 64 on the final day to erase a six-shot deficit and win by three.

“Best summer of my life,” he said. 

U.S. Amateur: Articles, videos and photos

During his two years in Tempe, Rahm has amassed an impressive résumé, with three victories, an eye-opening 21-under performance and a record-tying 61 at the 2012 NCAAs. He has put his power to good use, leading the nation in eagles made in both 2012 and ’13.

Unfair, perhaps, but it’s a surprise that the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder doesn’t win more often, given his incredible length. The missing piece was a rock-solid mental game, so Rahm sought out a member at his home club, Joseba Del Carmen, a renowned personal coach and motivator. In a matter of months, Rahm says he’s seen a drastic transformation.

“He needed to find a way to let the emotion out, but also to not let it affect him going forward,” Mickelson said.

Well, the fist pumps were flying Wednesday, and for good reason.

After cutting his deficit to 1 down at the turn, Rahm ripped a 390-yard drive on the 442-yard 10th. From 70 yards away, he skipped his wedge shot into the cup for an eagle-2.

Two holes later, on the 551-yard 12th, Rahm pounded a 360-yarder that cut the corner. After a 200-yard 7-iron, he poured in the 10-foot eagle putt – his second in three holes – to take his first lead of the match. Three consecutive pars was enough to take another hole, and when his birdie putt fell on 16, he was on to the Round of 32, where he will face fellow Pac-12 player Rico Hoey of USC.

“He just smokes it,” Hossler said of Rahm. “Sometimes a guy is going to get hot and beat you. I’d be upset if I felt like I had handed him the match, but he went out and won it.”

And to think, just 48 hours ago, Rahm was in danger of leaving early. An opening 75 in stroke play left him well outside the cut line, but he told Mickelson on Monday night that he’d simply gotten unlucky. In fact, he said he had never driven the ball better.

If the strategy sounds familiar, Rahm, the 14th-ranked amateur in the world, watched Rory McIlroy blast moon shots at Hoylake and Valhalla and decided to adopt a similar philosophy here.

“He just steps up and crushes it,” said Tim Campbell, a local caddie at AAC who is on Rahm’s bag this week. “If there’s any bunker in play, 300 out, he doesn’t even think about it.”

“He reminds me a lot of my brother,” Mickelson said. “Great driver, great putter, great hands, aggressive. The biggest difference is Jon’s willingness to hit driver – and how impressive it is.”

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm