Jon Rahm (-5) has returned plugged into the competition and starts in the CJ Cup with a ‘routine’ first round of 67 shots that places him at the top of the table and two shots behind the leader, an illuminated Tyrrell Hatton (-7) who comes from winning at Wentworth and still wants to sharpen his inertia.
Jon’s qualification as routine can be a little frivolous, so it deserves an explanation. To top such a card in Shadow Creek, a course that has become a very hard bone for those who show weaknesses, you have to play a very solid golf, because big problems are the order of the day on the Las Vegas course. And that is what the Basque has done, which is not a little when he comes from a three-week break. What happens, and it is still good news, is that Rahm has not gone with the turbo position, nor at the limit of effectiveness. At least, it has not given that feeling.
It is not easy to take streets in Shadow Creek, but in this section, if we get picky, Jon surely has some room for improvement. The greens are not exactly easy either and Rahm has developed in a remarkable way, but it is also true that he has been a good option along the way. On the other hand, it is still a differential sign of the largest, who do not always need their best version to sign very low records.
That said, we must insist: one thing is that the best version of Spanish has not been seen and another that such version has not been good. Or very good. The Barrika man has not wasted time or rested on his laurels during the past three weeks and his game is in order.
While Jon made it seem easy what surely wasn’t so easy (that’s another way of looking at it), by his side, his fellow party members embodied the two opposite extremes. On the one hand, Hatton, the leader, come hitting guns and making putts from all distances; for the other, Matthew Wolff (+8), last classified, plummeting, unable to make a single birdie and adding up to 43 shots in the second half of the round.
Sergio garcia (-1), meanwhile, has not had a particularly fine day with the second shots. His percentage of greens in regulation has not been poor, but he has not really managed to manufacture many reasonable birdie options. Anyway, a return below par is by no means a bad way to start this week, because small tragedies and alternatives, let us repeat, are going to be the order of the day.