Jon Rahm has World No 1 ranking snatched away from him as Patrick Cantlay wins Zozo Championship

James Corrigan
·2 min read
Jon Rahm is one of the leading contenders for next month's Masters - Getty Images
Jon Rahm is one of the leading contenders for next month's Masters - Getty Images

No more than 8/100ths of a ranking point separate Jon Rahm from the world No 1 position after the Spaniard agonisingly watched his chance of a third title of the year slip from his grasp in Los Angeles.

The Spaniard came to the 18th at the Zozo Championship needing a birdie to force the play-off with Patrick Cantlay, the young American who had stolen up on Rahm and world No 3 Justin Thomas when it seemed to be a duel at Sherwood Country Club. But his 18-footer narrowly missed and Cantlay, 28, celebrated collecting his third PGA Tour crown and a cheque for £1.1m.

Even then, Rahm knew he would have the consolation of displacing Dustin Johnson at the head of the rankings with outright second, but Thomas made his birdie putt to tie on 22-under and so Johnson remains at the summit by a remarkably tight margin.

With the Masters less than three weeks away, this was so well-timed for Cantlay, who made a career best nine birdies in his 65. "I put in a lot of work and try to do the right things all the time, so when it all does come together, it's really rewarding because it's all that hard work paying off," Cantlay, who rises to world No 9, said.

Rory McIlroy also secured a personal PGA Tour record in making 29 birdies over the week, but it says everything about his error count that he finished eight back in tied 17th. His aim will obviously be to cut out the mistakes over the next two weeks’ of practice before heading to Georgia for another attempt to complete the career grand slam.

The other show at Sherwood was on the opposite side of the course, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson playing together in the final round with no fans. There was nothing to see, anyway.

Woods closed with a 74 and still beat Mickelson by four shots. Mickelson, coming off a victory last week on the PGA Tour Champions, had five 6s on his card. Both finished out of the top 70 against a 78-man field.

Woods has yet to decide whether to play in next week’s Houston Open before his defence at Augusta and Mickelson is similarly unsure of his plans.