U.S. Open: Rahm still in contention despite 'recipe for difficulty' at Brookline

By Sports Desk June 18, 2022

Jon Rahm remains upbeat coming into the final round at U.S. Open, after a difficult Saturday saw him finish one stroke from tied leaders Will Zalatoris and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

The world number two held the outright lead approaching the 18th hole at Brookline, but a double bogey put him on one-over for the day and three-under after 54 holes.

Blustery and overcast conditions made moving day at The Country Club more about survival, and Rahm remains within contention despite his disappointing finish to the round.

"Good round of golf," he said afterwards. "It was obviously extremely difficult conditions, the wind being a little bit higher and stronger than the last few days, a different direction. Then the course being a little bit firmer, right, that's just a recipe for difficulty.

"Obviously, I think a lot of people are just thinking about 18. The truth is, 18, it was six good shots. Unfortunately, it added up to 6, but it was all good swings.

"If anything, it was maybe a choice or a decision on the fairway bunker, but swings were good, so execution was proper. So I'm happy about that in that sense."

The defending champion hit the bunker with his tee shot on the 18th and compounded that by hitting its lip and staying there, before finding another bunker with his next shot and two-putting for the double bogey.

It came after three birdies between 14 and 17 to put him on five-under, momentarily moving ahead of Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick as conditions dramatically cooled, placing further difficulty on shot and club selection.

"After I hit the shot, I realised the ball was a little bit deeper in the sand than I could really truly see," he said.

"But I think I got maybe -- tried to be a little too perfect with the shot. I had a 9-iron in hand. That's plenty to get over that lip.

"It is what it is. I think I got a little bit too cute with the shot."

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    Scottie Scheffler was left "shocked and shaking" after his arrest in Kentucky, though the world number one delivered a superb second round at the PGA Championship.

    Scheffler was arrested ahead of play starting at Valhalla Golf Club on Friday.

    According to reports from ESPN, Scheffler faces charges of second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving, and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic.

    The start of Friday's second round in Kentucky was delayed due to a traffic incident outside the course, with it subsequently confirmed that one person had died in the incident, which did not involve Scheffler.

    Speaking to reporters after his second round, Scheffler said: "My main focus after getting arrested was wondering if I could be able to come back out here and play, and fortunately I was able to do that," he said.

    "I was never angry, just in shock and I was shaking the whole time. It was definitely a new feeling for me.

    "The officer that took me to the jail was very kind. He was great. We had a nice chat in the car, that kind of helped calm me down.

    "It was a chaotic situation and a big misunderstanding," he said. "It’ll get resolved fairly quickly I think. I was driving in this morning, trying to get to my warm-up time and I don’t really have an understanding what transpired.

    "I did numerous apologies but it was dark, it was raining and they had just had an accident. I didn’t know what had happened at the time but my heart goes out to the family.

    "At no point did I try to name-drop myself to defuse the situation. I just tried to remain as calm as possible and just follow instructions."

    Scheffler posted a five-under-par 66, moving to nine under for the tournament, and closing within three strokes of leader Xander Schauffele.

    Having carded a historic 62 on Thursday, Schauffele could only manage a 68 in his second round, allowing his rivals to close the gap.

    Collin Morikawa, who followed up his first-round 66 with an excellent 65, is one stroke back on 11 under. Sahith Theegala is third, on 10 under.

    Scheffler is then part of a group that also includes Bryson DeChambeau, Thomas Detry and Mark Hubbard.

    Reigning champion Brooks Koepka is two back from Scheffler on seven under.

    Rory McIlroy, however, endured a disappointing second round, with the Northern Irishman carding 71 to slide seven shots off the lead.

    Tiger Woods, meanwhile, missed the cut after a dismal round of 77.

  • World number one Scheffler arrested ahead of second round at PGA Championship World number one Scheffler arrested ahead of second round at PGA Championship

    World number one Scottie Scheffler was arrested ahead of the second round at the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.

    According to reports from ESPN, Scheffler faces charges of second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving, and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic.

    The start of Friday's second round in Kentucky was delayed due to a traffic incident outside the course.

    Louisville Metro Police Department said a bus had struck and killed a pedestrian in the incident, which Scheffler was reportedly attempting to navigate to enter the course.

    Pre-tournament favourite Scheffler carded a four-under-par 67 in the first round on Thursday, putting him five strokes behind early pacesetter Xander Schauffele. 

  • PGA Championship: McIlroy 'rode his luck' as he joins Scheffler and Koepka in chasing pack PGA Championship: McIlroy 'rode his luck' as he joins Scheffler and Koepka in chasing pack

    Rory McIlroy felt relieved to have salvaged a five-under 66 from a "scrappy" opening round at the PGA Championship as he and a host of other big names chase Xander Schauffele in Kentucky.

    Schauffele leads at Valhalla Golf Club after carding a historic 62 on the first day, with fellow Americans Tony Finau, Sahith Theegala and Mark Hubbard in a tie for second place at six under, three off the lead.

    McIlroy is in a large group that also contains Collin Morikawa, sitting four shots off the pace at –5.

    Brooks Koepka and Scottie Scheffler are also among the prominent players chasing Schauffele, as they sit on four under after Thursday's action.

    It was a more difficult day for Jon Rahm, who shot a one-under 70, but he would have gladly taken that score when he had bogeyed four of his first six holes, while Tiger Woods is at +1 after a 72.

    McIlroy's last major win came in 2014 at this tournament and venue. He came into the event in form after two straight wins and remains in contention despite not playing at his peak.

    "I rode my luck a little bit," McIlroy said to Sky Sports. "I hope I can drive it like Rory in 2014 over the next few days as I didn't drive it very well [in round one]. 

    "My fairway woods were okay. My scrambling and iron play is coming together, so if I can do all that and hit fairways I am feeling pretty good.

    "I sort of felt like it was pretty scrappy for the most part. I don't really feel like I left many out there and I thought I got a lot out of my game.

    "Had some good up-and-downs, the chip-in on six. I had a little bit of a scrappy part around the turn there, but not really happy with how I played but I am at least happy with the score."

    Masters champion Scheffler will focus on his own game instead of focusing too much on Schauffele's stunning exploits.

    "Yeah, I mean, there's nothing I can do," Scheffler said. "Xander went out and played a great round in the morning, and I'm not really going to worry about trying to shoot 9-under. I'm just going to go out and try to hit good shots and play my own game.

    "I'd like to clean up a few of the mistakes. I missed two putts I felt like I should have holed, but that's going to happen when the greens get a little chewed up. A couple things I can clean up going into Friday, but overall it was a solid round."

    Woods, meanwhile, has accepted inconsistency will be part of his game at this stage of his career, but felt frustrated to end day one over par.

    "I am getting stronger for sure," Woods said. "It's just that I don't play a whole lot of competitive rounds. 

    "Each day is a little bit different. Some days, it's better than others. It's just the way it is. My body is just that way. Some days, it feels great, and others a bit of a struggle.

    "I struggled with the speed of the greens. It was a grind. I should have been under par for the day but I am over par and we have a long way to go.

    "It is a big-boy golf course. It has gotten longer or maybe I have just got shorter!"

    Schauffele sunk nine birdies in a bogey-free round to take the lead. It is just the fourth time a 62 has been carded at a major, with Schauffele matching the record both he and Rickie Fowler equalled in round one of the 2023 US Open.

    Branden Grace had previously gone round in 62 at The Open in 2017, though those efforts all came on par-70 courses, whereas Valhalla is a par-71.

    Schauffele also beat the course record of 63, set by Jose Maria Olazabal in 2000.

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