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Rahm claims third win of season at Genesis, returns to number 1

JON RAHM returns to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking as a result of his latest triumph, his fifth title in his past nine worldwide starts. — REUTERS/GARY A. VASQUEZ-USA TODAY SPORTS

JON Rahm made two key birdies late to fend off Max Homa and win the Genesis Invitational, his third victory of the young PGA Tour season, on Sunday in Los Angeles.

The Spaniard returned to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking as a result of his latest triumph, his fifth title in his past nine worldwide starts. He hasn’t finished worse than tied for seventh in an official event in the 2022-23 PGA season.

Mr. Rahm’s 2-under 69 in the final round at Riviera Country Club brought him to 17-under 267, two strokes better than Mr. Homa after entering the day with a three-shot lead.

“Obviously I’ve been extremely disciplined my whole career, but right now I’m seeing the dividends of a lot of the hard work over the years,” Rahm said. “So just keep doing the small things and keep enjoying it, having fun.

“Obviously when you’re playing good it’s really fun and when you’re winning tournaments, extremely fun, but got to enjoy the tough moments as well.”

After Mr. Homa bogeyed and Mr. Rahm saved par at the par-4 13th hole, they reached the par-3 14th tied for the lead, one ahead of Patrick Cantlay. Mr. Rahm made a sweeping, left-to-right 46-footer from the fringe for birdie while Mr. Homa parred.

Mr. Rahm then dropped his tee shot at the par-3 16th inside 3 feet of the pin to set up a birdie, and his two-shot advantage over Mr. Homa ultimately held up.

“That putt on 14 was huge, a great par putt on 15 and that shot on 16 obviously, right? I could pick either one of those moments,” Mr. Rahm said. “But if I had to choose one, it would be the 6-iron I hit from the left side on 13. Putting the ball on the green was important and two-putting that as well.”

It’s the second straight week that the No. 1 ranking changed hands. Scottie Scheffler overtook Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy for the top spot by winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open last week.

Mr. Scheffler tied for 12th this week at 8 under and Mr. McIlroy tied for 29th at 4 under. Mr. Rahm leapt them both from third to first in the world ranking.

Mr. Rahm admitted he was nervous entering the day.

“Of course we feel nervous. I’m a human being, after all, and I’m aware of the magnitude of this moment and this golf course, right?” Mr. Rahm said. “I’ve never had three PGA Tour wins in a season and to do it this early on is incredible, and to do it at this golf course … As a historian of the game, to be able to win a tournament hosted by Tiger and the one hosted by Jack as well, it’s pretty incredible.”

A native of nearby Burbank, Calif. and the 2021 Genesis champion, Mr. Homa shot a 3-under 68, briefly holding the outright lead after he made five birdies and one bogey over his first 10 holes.

“I wanted to push (Rahm). He is a spectacular golfer,” Mr. Homa said. “I would say other than Tiger and I don’t even know, he’s the most consistent player I’ve seen. I’ve known him since college and he’s been like this since then, No. 1 amateur in the world, No. 1 player in the world, all the accolades.”

“I wanted to make him beat me and I think I did that.”

Mr. Cantlay shot a 67 and finished third at 14 under. Will Zalatoris had the low round of the day, a 7-under 64, to grab fourth place at 13 under. Keith Mitchell (70) was fifth at 12 under.

Collin Morikawa became the first player on record to finish a PGA Tour round at Riviera birdie-eagle-birdie over the last three holes, allowing him to shoot a 67 and rocket up to a tie for sixth at 11 under with Sahith Theegala (66).

Tiger Woods shot a 2-over 73, with five bogeys and three birdies, to finish in a tie for 45th at 1 under. The tournament host had made his first competitive start since the Open Championship last July.

The tournament host, Mr. Woods was playing two years after he badly injured his right leg and foot in a single-car accident two days after the 2021 Genesis.

“It’s progress, headed in the right direction, yes,” Mr. Woods said. “It certainly was a little bit more difficult than I probably let on. My team has been fantastic in getting my body recovered day to day and getting me ready to play each and every day. That’s the hard part that I can’t simulate at home.” — Reuters

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