After flirting with the cutline, Jon Rahm’s late flurry has him in the mix for a third straight win at Farmers Insurance Open

SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s PGA Tour-best streak of 21 straight made cuts appeared in danger of coming to an end as he was straddling the cutline at the Farmers Insurance Open on Thursday with five holes remaining.

All he did was play his closing stretch – Nos. 5-9 on the North Course – in 5 under, which included a par at the final hole.

As he waited to do an interview with PGA Tour Radio, Rahm peered a nearby TV showing his highlights and when his second shot to the par-5 fifth hole at the North Course at Torrey Pines flashed on the screen, he smiled and said, “Ooh. That shot was so good.”

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Was it ever. Rahm estimated he blasted his tee shot on the 525- yard hole and left himself with just inside 200 yards. It was time, he said, to go into attack mode.

“It’s usually more of a soft 6-iron. And if the conversation is on camera, I asked Adam (Hayes), ‘Are you OK if I take a little bit off of it,’ and he said, ‘No, it’s all of it.’ And that’s where a great caddie comes into play. I hit exactly the shot we thought and gave myself an amazing chance for eagle.”

Rahm poured in the eagle putt – which vaulted him from 80th to 35th place – and tacked on three consecutive birdies to shoot 5-under 67, tied for the low round of the day. That rocketed him from flirting with the cutline to T-14 with a 36-hole total of 4-under 138. Rahm trails Sam Ryder, who fired 4-under 68 in the second round on the tougher South Course, by eight strokes.

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Rahm won last week at the American Express and his previous start at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He’s bidding to become the first player to win three consecutive starts since Dustin Johnson during the 2016-17 season. He was attempting to do so at his favorite hunting ground, site of his debut victory at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open and his signature win to date, the 2021 U.S. Open.

And yet after an opening-round 73 at the South Course and two birdies and two bogeys through his first 13 holes Thursday, his obituary at this year’s tournament was already half written. Was Rahm worried about his cut streak coming to an end?

“The goal is to win,” he said. “It would have come into mind maybe in the last few holes had I been even par. I knew going into 5 through 9 to take care of the par 5s, take care of the short par-4 7th, everything would be all right. I was playing with the mindset of catching up to the leaders as much as possible, that’s it.”

Rahm proved to be up to the challenge on a sunny day when the Santa Ana winds puffed enough to bring indecision into a golfer’s mind at every turn.

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“It’s going to be brutal out there,” CBS lead analyst Trevor Immelman observed early in the day. “The only saving grace are the greens are still soft and will be receptive, but it’s going to be a beast.”

How pleased was Rahm with shooting 67 to extend his cut streak to 22?

“Anything in the 60s would have been amazing,” he said. “What I shot today, man, I’m going to be skipping out of the golf course today because it’s a great round of golf.

“I think the most impressive part was I missed three fairways and in those three, one, I was a foot from the fairway and the other two maybe six feet combined, that was the most impressive part. That’s what allowed me to play such a good round of golf. It was really good ball-striking.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek