For Spain and Jon Rahm, it was indeed a great day at Torrey Pines. The 26-year-old world No. 3 player claimed his first major title, winning the 121st US Open.
Fellow countryman and Dubai resident, Rafa Cabrera Bello and the focus of our attention since the tournament began last Thursday, endured a repeat of Saturday’s score with a 3-over par 74 and a final position of 8-over for this year’s US Open.
As noted in yesterday’s report, Rafa’s worsening driving accuracy statistics appeared to provide the reason for his fall down the leaderboard. Hitting fairways is always crucial in major championships, especially when they are as narrow as the Torrey Pines South course. Over the first three days, Rafa’s ‘fairways hit’ percentages were 64 per cent - 50 per cent and 21 per cent respectively. However, the final round saw Rafa tied 2nd in this category, finding 79 per cent of the fairways from the tee.
So what happened? His approach play from these fairway lies were also on point. Rafa found 72 per cent of the greens in regulation and was tied 8th for the field as a whole. You guessed it, the ‘flat stick’ let him down yesterday. With 34 putts, he was ranked 64th in that department. As we amateurs are only too aware, you get one thing going with your game and then something else goes off the boil! If only the drives, approaches, chips, bunker shots and putts would all fire at the same time. With six bogeys and three birdies on his card yesterday, Rafa certainly had an interesting day and ended the US Open tied 50th (his best finish in this event is tied 32nd) with seven other players, including halfway leader Richard Bland.
Rafa will no doubt reflect on this week as a ‘what might have been’ – especially after such a strong opening day - but he will no doubt have improved his world ranking and hopefully caught the eye of Padraig Harrington.
Bien hecho…as they say in Spain!