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Rahm falls in his US Open defense

Michelangelo Barber

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The US Open traveled to Europe again thanks to Matthew Fitzpatrick (-6), who played an impressive fourth round in which he ended up winning by one blow to locals Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler. The Englishman, who had already won this competition as an amateur on this same course in Brookline in 2013, proved to be the best in a tournament that he has stood out for his toughness and the fairness of his preparation.

And that things were looking very good for Jon Rahm this week. He arrived at the third major of the season rested and confident and found conditions at the Country Club that seemed especially prepared for him. The rains and the cold prevailing these days in Boston had placed the powerful Biscayan in the high part of the table. And that, in his case, meant great options to renew the title won in San Diego the previous year.

When on the 17th hole on Saturday, the man from Barrica took the lead alone, a ray of hope lit up the entire Spanish crowd. However, a double ‘bogey’ in which he closed the day brought his fans back to the harsh reality: retaining the trophy was not going to be an easy task, far from it. And the Sunday round was in charge of reminding him with every step he took.

Without finding a single reason for the disaster suffered yesterday, what was clear from the beginning is that the number two in the world was never mentally ready to assault his target. Those that other days had been directed darts, now were shots that stayed very far away; and the ‘puts’ that once fell into the bowls, now did not obey the force of gravity. In this way, while his rivals began to subtract blows from their cards, Rahm had a hard time keeping up with the field.

A lap to forget

On the fifth hole he got his first bogey and saw four of the leaders, Ftizpatrick and Zalatoris. That was when he collapsed and could no longer stop the bleeding, because he lost two new points in 8 and 10 to finish sinking his hopes.

After adding so many illusions and having done such a good mental job in the first three rounds, it was difficult to understand that the Spaniard had run out of options with two hours of play still ahead of him. The sensations that he transmitted clearly spoke of the fact that he was not going to be able to overcome his bad performance. Nothing went right and even the gestures of frustration that he expressed, with the intention of breaking the sticks or even eating them, only made his bad moment clear. His final card of 74 hits, four over par, was not what he needed and left him out of the top 10 (twelfth), but it is still one more step in his learning process in the ‘majors’. In a week in which he turned twenty-three in his history, with nine finishes in the top ten, you have to keep looking forward.

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