2022 Tournament of Champions results: Jon Rahm equalizes Cameron Smith for final round lead


KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) – Jon Rahm tied the lowest score of his career, tied the course record in Kapalua and played his last 12 holes at 11 below par for a 61. He needed it just to catch up. Cameron Smith in the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Saturday.

In a shockingly low start to the new year on the PGA Tour, Rahm and Smith moved away from the rest of the winners field as they took to each other blow-by-blow, blow-for-blow through much of the bottom nine on the defenseless course of the Planting.

Rahm capped off his birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie finish with just under 30 and 15-foot putts for his 12-under-61s. That equaled the course record set hours earlier by Justin Thomas, who was one shot behind when he finished, nine shots at the end of the day.

The average score of 67.7 was the lowest in Kapalua since the Tournament of Champions moved to the west end of Maui in 1999. The previous record was 67.8 set the day before.

There is nothing to stop these guys other than themselves, and it wasn’t.

Rahm and Smith were 26 under 193, five strokes ahead of Daniel Berger, who had a third straight round of 66. It wasn’t good enough for this perfect week of warm weather, very little wind and scoring. extraordinarily low.

Ernie Els set the PGA Tour record for the lowest score at 31 in 2003 in Kapalua. It is very threatened.

“Really good golf from both of us,” said Smith.

He had a three-stroke lead at the start of round three, was still three strokes ahead on six holes, then was 8 under par on his last 12 holes – and he lost the total lead.

Rahm, the No. 1 player in the world and likely to retain the rankings, was at his best in his first competition since mid-October.

He closed the top nine with three consecutive birdies and started the last nine with two consecutive birdies. The only holes he had to settle for par were No. 12 (where he missed a birdie putt just under 12 feet away) and No. 13 (he left a 10 foot short putt).

His best shot was a second shot in the 15th par-5 to reach 4 feet for an eagle. It got him close at once, as Smith had to settle for a two-putt birdie. They tied with birdies the rest of the way, both within 30 feet of No.17, to the closing par 5.

Both arrived short, which is not unusual with a front pin and the grain coming severely away from them. Smith missed by just 15 feet, while Rahm holed his birdie putt from 8 feet.

As for the 36 other winners in the field? Not all of them left.

Patrick Cantlay was trying to stay with the leaders until his corner against a back pin on the 16th was hot and found the rough behind the green, leading to a bogey that felt much worse. He finished with a 66 and fell six strokes back, along with Matt Jones (62) and Sungjae Im (65).

Thomas had a 74 in the first round and had little reason to like his chances until he walked away playing his last seven holes at 7 under. It gave him a 61 and at least some hope, but not for very long.

All 38 were under par, Jason Kokrak bringing up the rear at 5 under 214.

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