LOS ANGELES, Calif. Jon Rahm found himself in a strange situation on Friday, battling for a spot in the field.
Rahm was on the cut line, even par for the event, when his drive into the right rough at Riviera’s par-4 finale after another disappointing day at the Genesis Invitational. He sliced his approach past the branches and into the left fringe, 22 feet from the flag, despite being blocked off by the eucalyptus trees. However, upon putting through the slick grass, his putt fell short of the hole.
There was drama all of a sudden: He needed that slick 6-footer to make the weekend and avoid missing his second cut of the nascent Tour season – which would have been more than he had in the entire 2020-21 season.
Rahm’s par putt sailed over the front edge of the cup, giving him two extra rounds after his second-round 73. He went straight to the range after signing his card to do some cleanup work. In strokes gained: tee to green, he was 25th in the field, but he was a dismal 110th in putting and around the greens.
Rahm’s tenacious par rescue on the 18th hole could have ramifications for the next 36 holes.
Despite a string of strong results over the last several months, Rahm could lose his No. 1 status at Riviera to Collin Morikawa. There will be a change at the top if Morikawa (now in sixth place, eight strokes back) wins the Genesis and Rahm finishes worse than solitary fourth place. Since July of last year, Rahm has been ranked first.
This week, a similar scenario exists with world No. 3 Patrick Cantlay, although it’s quite unlikely – Cantlay, too, missed the cut on the number, putting him 16 strokes behind the leader.