LA JOLLA, Calif. — The devilishly fickle nature of golf has been on full display the past few days at Torrey Pines.
In no case is that truer than for Jon Rahm, who takes a one-shot lead into Sunday’s final round of the Farmers Insurance Open, attempting to duplicate his 2017 victory in the tournament.
Rahm, who has a special affinity for Torrey Pines because he proposed to his now-wife while hiking the trails around the area, started off hot Thursday (shooting a 4-under 68), then had a roller-coaster round on Friday (71) that left him aggravated for most of the day, muttering to himself and slamming his club into the ground.
Then came Saturday, when Rahm shot a 7-under 65 to seize the lead in a round that began with a chip-in for birdie on No. 1 and a hole-out for eagle on No. 2.
“It’s hard to know where to begin,” Rahm said when asked to describe his day. “I mean, the chip-in on one and hole-out on two, 3-under through two holes, no putts. A pretty good start, pretty good way to get things going, but I was still focused on hunting Ryan [Palmer, the 36-hole leader] and hunting the lead.”
Palmer, who followed his 10-under 62 Friday with a 71 Saturday, was paired with Rahm in the Zurich Classic, a team event they won together in April.
“The key for me was just to survive [Saturday], and I accomplished it,” Palmer said.
Rahm and Palmer will be in a final-round group with Rory McIlroy, who’s 9-under, along with Cameron Champ, Harry Higgs and Sung Kang. Should McIlroy win, it would elevate him to No. 1 in the world.
That Rahm is leading after his agitating Friday round is somewhat remarkable.
“Oh, I was all over the place,” Rahm said. “I couldn’t hit a fairway, that’s what happened. I missed the fairway on one, on three, on five, on nine. Then I missed basically every single fairway on the back nine except 13. It was a miracle I shot under par [Friday]. That’s why I was frustrated.
“I sliced it on 14 to the right, sliced it on 15 again. [Saturday] might be the first time in years that I hit that fairway on 15. I can’t remember the last time I hit it. That was the frustration. I missed it right on 17, right on 18 again. I wasn’t feeling really confident with the driver.