Jon Rahm captures first major with thrilling victory at US Open

A thrilling final round at the US Open saw Jon Rahm win his first major and Louis Oosthuizen recording yet another second-place finish.

Jon Rahm poses with the trophy after winning the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif. on Sunday, June 20, 2021. (Jeff Haynes/USGA)

Jon Rahm has become the first-ever Spanish golfer to claim the men’s US Open Championship after a thrilling one-stroke victory at Torrey Pines.

Rahm trailed South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen for most of the final round before two spectacular birdies on the closing two holes saw the Spaniard surge into the clubhouse with a tournament total of 6-under par.

Rahm’s final birdie at the short par-5 18th hole was particularly memorable given his decision making after finding the right greenside bunker with his second shot.

https://twitter.com/usopengolf/status/1406782352420786177

Facing a tough downhill lie, with the green running away towards the water hazard, Rahm chose to play away from the hole.

The 20-foot breaking putt for birdie sent the California crowd into raptures and meant Oosthuizen needed to find a birdie in the closing two holes to send the tournament into a playoff.

“I have a hard time explaining what just happened because I can’t even believe I made the last two putts, and I’m the first Spaniard ever to win a U.S. Open. This was definitely for Seve,” Rahm said.

“I know he tried a lot, and usually we think a lot about him at the Masters, but I know he wanted to win this one most of all. I just don’t know how to explain it.”

Oosthuizen looked composed and in control of the tournament for the majority of the final round that featured a stack of big-name golfers including Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka.

But the South African, whose last major victory was at the 2011 Open Championship pulled his tee shot on the par-4 17th hole into the ravine hazard and Oosthuizen was forced to take a penalty drop.

The resulting bogey meant a closing eagle was now required to match Rahm’s 6-under par but another pulled drive meant he could not reach the green in two and the tournament was effectively over.

For the sixth time, Oosthuizen finishes runner-up in a major championship. The most recent coming just last month when he finished behind Phil Mickelson at the US PGA Championship.

“Right now I didn’t win it. I’m second again. No, look, it’s frustrating. It’s disappointing. I’m playing good golf, but it’s not — winning a major championship is not just going to happen, Oosthuizen said.

“You need to go out and play good golf. I played good today, but I didn’t play good enough.”

Rahm’s victory is all the more special when you consider he was forced to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament due to testing positive for COVID-19.

Rahm addressed this in classy fashion in his trophy acceptance speech.

“I was never resentful for one second for what happened. And I don’t blame anybody. It’s been a difficult year, and unfortunately COVID is a reality in this world, and it’s affected a lot of people,”Rahm said.

“I know what happened a couple of weeks ago. Some people might say it wasn’t fair, but it was what had to be done. We still have to be aware of what’s going on in this world. Take care of yourself and everybody around you so we can get over this as quick as possible.”

Final-Round Leaderboard
Jon Rahm                          69-70-72-67—278 (-6)
Louis Oosthuizen             67-71-70-71—279 (-5)
Harris English                   72-70-71-68—281 (-3)
Guido Migliozzi                71-70-73-68—282 (-2)
Brooks Koepka                 69-73-71-69—282 (-2)
Collin Morikawa              75-67-70-70—282 (-2)

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