Jon Rahm ball-struck the field to death at the Hero World Challenge to claim his third victory of the 2018 season. Entering the final round tied with Tony Finau and Henrik Stenson, Rahm made seven birdies against zero bogeys en route to a four-shot win.
“Arguably the best ball-striking day I’m ever going to have – even better than Friday,” Rahm said of his Sunday 65, drawing a comparison to his second round 9-under par 63.
Rahm shot 4-under par on Albany’s front nine to open up a 2-shot lead over his 54-hole co-leaders, but as both Finau and Stenson faltered down the stretch, Rahm kept the pedal to the metal picking up three more birdies over the first six holes of the back nine.
Just over two months removed from beating Tiger Woods in Ryder Cup singles, Rahm was able to win Woods’ tournament.
“That Sunday with Tiger is still the most emotionally, most important moment of my golf career,” Rahm said. “It means so much to play against Tiger. A couple months later, to win his event, it’s really special.”
Pretty good stuff from Rahm on what it meant to beat Tiger at the Ryder Cup. Happy Monday! 🏌️⛳️ pic.twitter.com/MFcZrM7svw
— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) December 3, 2018
While not recognized as an official Tour victory, the Hero does carry some hefty — and controversial — world ranking points.
One of the underlying storylines of the week was whether or not Justin Rose would do enough to unseat Brooks Koepka as the world’s top-ranked player. In the end, Rose was in position to take over the top spot, but Finau birdied the 72nd hole to move into solo second place, leaving Rose 0.0132 points shy of the top spot.
Rahm’s win moved him from eighth to sixth in the world. Finau cracked the top-10 for the first time in his career thanks to the runner-up finish. Finau moved ahead of Rickie Fowler to become the new ninth-ranked player in the world.
As for the tournament host, Woods struggled all week on the greens, unable to put together a full round. On Sunday, Woods stumbled out of the starting blocks shooting an outgoing 4-over par 40. He rallied to make four birdies against one bogey to shoot 3-under par on the back nine. His efforts resulted in a 17th-place finish in the 18-man event.
“Overall, it was a long week, but one that I hope the players enjoyed,” Woods said.