At the start of the 2021 US Open Championship, Jon Rahm was the +900 favorite to win the event with DraftKings Sportsbook.
By the end of it, that price had been vindicated as the Spaniard landed his first ever Major trophy in his career, just weeks after having to pull out of The Heritage, while leading the event after the third round, due to a positive Covid-19 test.
• First Father’s Day
• First major win
• First Spaniard to win the U.S. Open
Felicidades, Jon Rahm! pic.twitter.com/Ht0bI5Lc2a
— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) June 21, 2021
However, no illness would deny the Spaniard for a second time as he posted a final round 67 to take the trophy by one shot fro South African Louis Ooisthuizen, who finishes as runner up in a Major tournament for the sixth time in his career.
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Back Nine Bites Back At Chasing Field
The final round saw a host of the biggest names in golf all within a few shots of the lead, or sharing the lead at one point during the day.
Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen were all in with a shout alongside many others, but the first trio saw their hopes founder on the tricky back nine.
Defending Champion DeChambeau had a particularly tough back nine as he dropped four shots in three holes from the 11th hole and then had a quadruple-bogey eight at the 17th hole to drop him right down the leaderboard to finish 3-over par.
Rahm’s Slice Of Luck At The Ninth
After his misfortune at The Heritage a couple of weeks back, few people would have begrudged Rahm the slice of luck that may well have been key in landing him his maiden Major title.
At the ninth hole, Rahm hit a poor tee-shot that looked destined to head out of bounds. However, a closer inspection saw Rahm’s ball found very close to the boundary fence. After consulting a rules official, he received a free drop and managed to land a birdie, instead of what looked like being a six or seven.
The back nine was eventually what decided the Championship with many players that were previously in contention, seeing themselves drop off the pace as Torrey Pines South Course bit back.
Indeed, it was only Rahm and Oosthuizen that managed to hold things together to edge away from the pack at the top of the leaderboard.
Three-Under Target Set
With Harris English having set a clubhouse target of three-under and with the pack falling away, soon it was down to Rahm and Oosthuizen to decide the destination of the trophy.
Oosthuizen went two shots clear at the 10th, but then dropped a shot immediately at the 11th. Rahm meanwhile was starting to charge and put pressure on the South African, however having missed birdie chances at the 14th and 15th, chances for Rahm to tie things up seemed to be running out.
With Oosthuizen in the group behind, Rahm found sand on the 17th and 18th holes, but managed to produce exquisite bunker shots and then sink two birdie putts for a birdie-birdie finish that took him one clear of Oosthuizen, setting a new clubhouse lead of 6-under.
JON RAHM DOES IT AGAIN.#USOpen
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 21, 2021
However, with Oosthuizen bogeying the 17th, that meant the South African needed an eagle at the last to force a playoff. After his tee-shot found the rough, Oosthuizen couldn’t reach the green with his second and instead landed a birdie to finish one shot behind the new champion.
First Ever Win And Now First Major
It was a sweet day for Rahm, who won his first ever tournament as a professional back at Torrey Pines in 2017. Four years later, he’d land his first Major at the same course.
“I got my breakthrough win here and it is a very special place for my family,” stated Rahm after collecting the trophy.
The Spaniard dedicated his win to compatriot Seve Ballesteros.
“This is definitely for Seve, I know he tried a lot, I know he wanted to win this one most of all.”
Attentions will now turn to the final Major of 2021, the British Open, which will be held on the 15th to 18th of July at Royal St George’s in Surrey, England.