Jon Rahm finishes T-3 at British Open, returns to World No. 1

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Jon Rahm said he would need to play flawlessly in the final round to mount a comeback at the 149th British Open.

On a sun-soaked Sunday at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England, Rahm signed for 66, but there were a few flaws along the way that he couldn’t overcome. Rahm, winner of the U.S. Open in June, finished in a tie for third with Louis Oosthuizen at 11-under 269, wrapping up an impressive major season as well as regaining the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.

The big Spaniard’s long-shot hopes of rallying from five strokes back at the start of the day took a big hit when he made a three-putt bogey at the second hole. He also squandered a chance one hole later to get it back, missing a short birdie putt. But there’s a lot of fight in Rahm and he canned an eagle putt at the par-5 seventh. His momentum stalled with a bogey one hole later – his second square on the card when it had to be clean – and he was even for the day through 12 holes.

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“I think the main part of my game that could have been a little bit better is putting,” he said. “Not that I’m asking to make every putt, but I really struggled to make putts outside really 8 feet.”

Rahm made four birdies in a row starting at No. 13, but it was a case of too little, too late. He dug himself a hole with an opening-round 71, but bounced back with 65-68 in the next two rounds.

“Even if you take today, I did make the long one on 15, but besides that every birdie putt I had was short, and even the eagle one, right. There was a lot of chances out there that I could have made or that I know that guys out there ahead of me are making,” Rahm said.

Rahm, 26, turned in an impressive major championship season: T-5 at the Masters, T-8 at the PGA, a win at the U.S. Open and a T-3 at the British, his best career finish at the Open. Of those who made the cut in all four majors, Rahm was a cumulative 24 under, five strokes better than Morikawa and Oosthuizen. He’ll head into the Olympics in two weeks playing like the World No. 1 that he is again after Dustin Johnson bumped him for one week.

“At the end of the day, still a really good showing. Played really good golf all week,” Rahm said. “Too bad I’m going to end up just shy. Yeah, I’m still going to smile because I gave it my all. Finished really, really strong and gave myself the best chance I could.”