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. 

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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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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

Zach Johnson: 13/2

Rory McIlroy: 7/1

Jordan Spieth: 8/1

Rickie Fowler: 9/1

Kevin Kisner: 12/1

Xander Schauffele: 16/1

Tony Finau: 16/1

Matt Kuchar: 18/1

Pat Perez: 25/1

Brooks Koepka: 25/1

Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

Alex Noren: 50/1

Tiger Woods: 50/1

Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

Danny Willett: 60/1

Francesco Molinari: 60/1