Spaniard Jon Rahm sank a 60-foot, 8-inch eagle putt on the 72nd hole Sunday to win the $6.5 million Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course by three shots over PGA Tour rookie C.T. Pan and Charles Howell III.
Rahm’s 7-under-par 65 was Sunday’s low round. It also included an eagle on the par-5 13.
The first PGA Tour victory in Rahm’s career came on his 17th start and was worth $1.206 million. His previous best finish was a second-place finish in last year’s RBC Canadian Open.
Rahm is the first player since Jay Don Blake in 1991 to get his first PGA Tour victory at what is now the Farmers Insurance Open.
The victory gives Rahm a berth in the Masters.
Rahm is the sixth player in this 20s to win on the PGA Tour this season and at 22 years, 2 months and 19 days, the youngest this season.
Rahm began the round among five golfers three strokes off the lead, tied for 13th. He bogeyed the first hole, then birdied the third and fifth, finishing the front nine at 1-under-par.
He birdied the 11th hole, sank an 18-foot putt for an eagle on the par-5 13th hole and birdied the 17th.
On his winning putt, Rahm said he “was aiming about three feet left of the pin, maybe a little more, to a little spike mark that was there and I was trying to just get it there.”
“That was my goal — start it on that line and get it to that line,” Rahm said. “After that, I knew the slope was going to take care of the rest. At first it started breaking right. It kept breaking right and I was just waiting for that ball to come back to the left.
At one point I thought it was going to be about a foot short, but it just kept going and it kept going. Then towards the end, it moved a little right and it came back, came back to the left and next thing I know the ball is just coming in, going into the hole.”
Rahm is a product of Arizona State, where he became the first two-time winner of the Ben Hogan Award as the best player in collegiate golf.
Rahm was coached at Arizona State by Tim Mickelson, a native San Diegan, former University of San Diego coach and the younger brother of Phil Mickelson. The younger Mickelson resigned as the Sun Devils coach after the conclusion of last season and is now Rahm’s agent.
“Once I realized what kind of person he was and how much he was helping me mature as a person and my golf game, he really was a reference,” Rahm said of Tim Mickelson. “If I ever needed advice, I would go to him. If I was ever in trouble, I would go to him. I would never hide anything from him and that’s how it worked out.
And whenever I told him about if he wanted to keep my journey or help me on my journey, walk it with me, I was just extremely flattered he said yes.”
Pan began the round tied for third, one stroke behind the co-leaders, then shot a 2-under-par 70 after back-to-back 3-under-par 69s.
Howell birdied the 18th to tie for second.
Defending champion Brandt Snedeker and Patrick Rodgers shared the lead entering the round. Rogers shot an par-72, with four birdies and four bogeys, to finish in a five-way tie for fourth, four strokes off the lead.
Snedeker shot a 1-over-par 73 to finish in a five-way tie for ninth, five strokes off the lead.
Snedeker was seeking to become first player to win the tournament in back-to-back years since Tiger Woods won four consecutive times from 2005-2008.
Snedeker was also seeking to join Woods, who has won the tournament seven times, and three-time winner Phil Mickelson as the only players to have three or more Farmers Insurance titles. Snedeker also won the tournament in 2012.
Torrey Pines High School graduate Pat Perez was also in the group that tied for forth after a 2-under-par 70. He began the round among seven players tied for two strokes off the lead.
Perez said he spent much of his childhood at Torrey Pines Golf Course “working pretty much every job a kid can do here.”
Perez’s father Tony was an announcing starter at the tournament for more than 25 years.
— City News Service
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: