Rahm looks over the precipice but remains standing in Augusta

He flirted with hell, but was saved from burning. Jon Rahm offered many doubts on the first day of the Masters and yesterday the uncertainty in his game multiplied. A chain of errors hindered the Biscayan’s chances of fighting to retain the green jacket and he was on the verge of sending him home at the first opportunity. He started the day with a +1 on his card on Thursday and was virtually out of the cut by making double bogey on the 14th hole.

Uncomfortable, it was time to reset and give away a beautiful putt from four and a half meters to sign the first birdie of the day. Aware that there was still danger, ‘Rahmbo’ brought out his repertoire and holed out again, this time from a whopping fifteen meters. He was breathing. Many putts missed, some by an inch, and with them the chances of moving up in a classification that, a priori, can only make up for leaving Augusta with a good taste in their mouths tomorrow. And the one from Barrika is ten strokes away (+4 compared to -6) from the leading trio formed by Max Homa, Bryson DeChambeau – leader on Thursday – and the great favorite for the title, Scottie Scheffler.

Rahm was not at all comfortable on a new day in which the wind made his existence bitter. If the slow play of his match colleague, Nick Dunlap, was already responsible for slowing down the day, the dust that sometimes caused the gusts in the bunker forced the defending champion to wait longer than necessary when putting. . More pressure. The whims of the god Aeolus prevented birdie on the first hole and caused the first of three bogeys (plus a double bogey) of the day. It was at the third flag when a putt was missed, it even left the green and rolled down the hill. He had to row.

Two very good putts in the fourth and fifth gave him courage again for the difficult mission of the comeback, which began to collapse when he failed in the sixth. The trio completed by the British Matt Fitzpatrick continued its course and Rahm could not make a cut. A couple, another, two that could have been birdies… Until the dreaded Amen Corner, Augusta’s Bermuda triangle, arrived and he missed again. His card then reached +4. Alert.

He came out alive and then in the 14th minute he hit rock bottom. Double bogey and a momentary +6 that left him virtually out of the cut, the final destination of his compatriot Sergio García (+7). The debacle of the Alicante native did not enter the pools after his good start to the year in the LIV, where he has touched two titles and performed at a pleasing level. The virgin appeared to José María Olazabal (+6) when he lowered the cut one blow and after a great day after the bad debut he will be among the best three years later. For his part, the ghost of the Spanish champion appeared to Rahm. The one that appears the year after wearing the green jacket and that says that only once did the defending champion manage to make the cut. Olazabal did it in 1995 before shipwrecking in 2000, it happened before to Seve in ’81 and ’84 and García repeated it in 2018. Fear.

Lights, shadows and final scare

Then Rahm emerged from the best occasions. Remembering his version from just twelve months ago, he gave away two high putts to shave two strokes off a card that until now was on track to equal his worst round in the history of the Masters, the 77 strokes he completed on Saturday in 2022, when He finished tied for 27th place. The winner of two majors was breathing, a category in which he has the best active streak passing in court, with this 18 times in a row, since the 2019 PGA.

The dreaded final holes were reached, those that allow no room for error. And Rahm once again gave away a more than avoidable bogey to put himself on the edge of the precipice. Then the cut came down a beat. He was already saved.

2024-04-12 23:47:24
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