Monday, June 21

U.S. Open Champion Jon Rahm: 'This Was Definitely for Seve'


SAN DIEGO - On a cool, overcast Sunday in 2021, it was Jon Rahm hammering home the most memorable 24-foot birdie putt of his young career, one that gave the fiery Spaniard a one-stroke victory over Louis Oosthuizen in the 121st U.S. Open Championship.

Punctuating a 4-under-par 67 to match the championship’s lowest round, the 26-year-old became the first player from Spain to win any USGA championship. It also was his second title on the South Course at Torrey Pines, a venue he has grown to love.

Torrey Pines was the site of his first PGA Tour victory in 2017 and where he later proposed to his college sweetheart, Kelley Cahill. It has been a whirlwind two weeks for Rahm, who had to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament with a six-stroke 54-hole lead on June 5 due to a positive COVID-19 test.

“I'm a big believer in karma,” said Rahm, who also rallied from a three-stroke deficit in the final round to win the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, capping that comeback with a dramatic 72nd-hole eagle. “And after what happened a couple weeks ago, I stayed really positive knowing good things were coming. I didn't know what it was going to be, but I knew we were coming to a special place, I knew I got [my] breakthrough [PGA Tour] win here and it's a very special place for my family, and the fact that my parents were able to come, I got out of COVID protocol early, I just felt like the stars were aligning, and I knew my best golf was to come.

“I have a hard time explaining what just happened because I can't even believe I made the last two putts, and I'm the first Spaniard ever to win a U.S. Open. This was definitely for Seve [Ballesteros]. I know he tried a lot, and usually we think a lot about him at the Masters, but I know he wanted to win this one most of all. I just don't know how to explain it.”

For Oosthuizen (71–279), it was his sixth runner-up finish in a major championship since winning the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews, and second in the U.S. Open (2015). Harris English finished three strokes back in third (3-under 281) after shooting a final-round 68.

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