Rahm holds on to win Genesis Invitational, returns to No. 1
Woods has 4 bogeys in 8-hole stretch, shoots 73 to tie for 45th
Jon Rahm returned to No. 1 in the world on Sunday by winning the Genesis Invitational with a performance that left no doubt who's playing the best golf.
Caught in a battle with hometown favourite Max Homa at Riviera, Rahm delivered two big moments with a 45-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the par-three 14th and then a tee shot to two feet for birdie on the par-three 16th.
He closed with a two-under 69 for a two-shot win over Homa.
"Pretty incredible," Rahm said. "[To win] at a golf course with this legacy, this history and hosted by Tiger Woods, is such an honour."
Racking up win No. 10 at Riviera 🏆 <a href="https://t.co/iiIEB16QHo">pic.twitter.com/iiIEB16QHo</a>—@PGATOUR
Patrick Cantlay got within one shot on the back nine until two bogeys. He had a 67 to finish alone in third, moving him to No. 4 in the world.
Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., finished tied for ninth at nine-under. He shot two-under on Sunday.
Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., finished tied for 33rd at three-under. Mackenzie Hughes of Hamilton, Ont., finished tied for 50th at even par. Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., finished 61st at three-over and Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford finished 66th at six-over.
Woods had four bogeys in an eight-hole stretch and shot 73 to tie for 45th.
"Unfortunately, my streak continues," Woods said with a smile, alluding to his 12 appearances at Riviera as a pro without ever winning.
His success was measured in progress. It was his first time playing 72 holes since the Masters last April — Woods only played twice more since then as he tries to cope with leg and back injuries that will make PGA Tour appearances rare. He did not know if he would play again before the Masters.
And then the spectators turned their attention to a terrific duel between Rahm and Homa, each with two victories on the PGA Tour this season.
Rahm now has five wins in his last nine starts worldwide, dating to his win in the Spanish Open. He has not finished out of the top 10 in his last 10 tournaments.
It was his third win in five starts on the PGA Tour this year, and he already has earned more than $9 million US the last two months.
This wasn't as easy as it looked at the end.
"That was a tough week and a tough Sunday," Rahm said.
The champion and the host 🏆🐅<a href="https://twitter.com/TigerWoods?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TigerWoods</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/JonRahmpga?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JonRahmPGA</a> <a href="https://t.co/3QqTnRhkLd">pic.twitter.com/3QqTnRhkLd</a>—@PGATOUR
Homa, who won at Riviera two years ago, began the final round three shots back. He quickly closed to within one shot, only for the Spaniard to come within inches of holing out from the fairway at No. 8 for a tap-in birdie, while Homa made bogey from behind the green to slip three shot behind again.
And then it changed quickly.
After Homa birdied the ninth from 15 feet, he drove to the far edge of the 10th green and got down in two for a birdie. Rahm went well left. His pitch was short and rolled down the back of the green, behind a bunker. He pitched onto — and then over — the green into another bunker, and he had to make a six-footer for bogey.
Two holes later, Homa took the lead for the first time when Rahm three-putted for bogey, only for Homa to give it back with a bogey from a bad tee shot.
Rahm now has won just over $9.4 million in the last two months on the PGA Tour — wins at Kapalua and the California desert and on the classic course of Riviera off fabled Sunset Boulevard. He finished third in Phoenix and tied for seventh at Torrey Pines in his other two starts this year.
This is the fifth time Rahm has been No. 1 in the world, and the way he's playing, it looks as if he might stay there for some time.
Rory McIlroy, who began the year at No. 1 and won his first event of the year in Dubai on the European tour, was not a factor for the second straight week. McIlroy had a 73-71 weekend and tied for 29th.