Jon Rahm reclaimed his place as world number one with victory at the Genesis Invitational in California – which marked his fifth win in a run of nine tournaments.
The Spaniard carded a two-under 69 in his final round on Sunday to finish 17 under and beat American Max Homa by two strokes to win his 10th PGA Tour title.
The win takes Rahm above American Scottie Scheffler, who was nine shots adrift, at the top of the rankings. It is the 28-year-old’s third PGA Tour victory of 2023. Rahm now has one more PGA Tour win than compatriot and idol Seve Ballesteros.
Rahm, who was last ranked at number one in March last year, held a three-shot lead going into the final round at the Riviera Country Club but trailed Homa with six holes remaining. However, two birdies on the par threes at 14 and 16 moved the Spaniard ahead and pars on the final two holes secured the win.
Homa scrambled a par at the last to retain solo second ahead of Patrick Cantlay, who posted a final-round 67. Will Zalatoris carded a round-of-the-day 64 to finish in fourth spot ahead of Keith Mitchell, while Collin Morikawa played his last three holes in four under to jump into a share of sixth with Sahith Theegala.
“That was a tough week and a tough Sunday,” Rahm said. “Beating Seve, I know he didn’t play full time on the PGA Tour, and I know five of those wins are majors, but still, to reach that milestone of double digit wins is pretty incredible. And to do it at a golf course with this legacy, this history and hosted by the man himself, Tiger Woods, it’s a true honour.”
Speaking about taking back the world no.1 ranking, he added: “I’ve won five out of my last nine starts. I haven’t finished worse than top seven, and I’ve won three tournaments already. I don’t need a ranking to validate anything. I’m having the best season of my life and hopefully I can keep it going.”
Scheffler loses his place as world number one only a week after winning the Phoenix Open to replace Rory McIlroy, who finished in a tie for 29th after a closing 71 on Sunday.
Woods ended his first tournament in seven months with a final-round 73 to finish on one under for the tournament. “It’s progress, but I didn’t win,” said the 15-time major champion. Those injuries still hinder the 47-year-old, who said his comeback “certainly was a little bit more difficult than I probably let on”.
Woods explained: “My team has been fantastic in getting my body recovered day to day and getting me ready to play each and every day. That’s the hard part that I can’t simulate at home. Even if I played four days at home, it’s not the same as adrenaline, it’s not the same as the system being ramped up like that, the intensity, just the focus that it takes to play at this level.”
Jon Rahm’s winning gear
Driver: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond (10.5°)
Fairway woods: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond T (16°, 18°)
Irons: Callaway Apex TCB (4-PW)
Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (52°, 56°, 60°)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG Rossie S
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X