19 Jul 2020 | Professional golf |
Day fights, Rahm stalks No. 1 ranking
by Martin Blake
Two late bogeys cost Jason Day his chance of something special, and everyone is chasing Spain’s Jon Rahm at the Memorial Tournament, where he is just a day away from becoming No. 1 in the world.
Day gritted his way into contention for the second day in a row at Muirfield Village, and by the time he hit it close on the par-three 16th hole (a troublesome hole for almost everyone this week) and tapped in the birdie putt, he was at seven-under par overall and making a significant run.
But the Australian hit poor tee shots at the par-four 17th and 18th and gave back shots, ultimately signing for a third-round 72, even-par. Afterward, he told the PGA Tour's Ben Everill that he was "not in extreme pain" with his back, and that he was able to swing the club freely for now.
Meanwhile Rahm, currently the world No. 2, made a string of four straight birdies from the 13th to the 16th and by the time he signed for his 68, the Ryder Cup hero was at 12-under and four shots ahead.
Day is tied-fifth at five-under par, seven shots back. He continues to look sore from his back injury – he had considered withdrawing on Thursday – and he is in the midst of a long haul of consecutive tournaments, but he has found his mojo after a long period of struggle.
World No. 1 in 2015, Day has slipped outside the top 50 and has not won a tournament since 2018.
Meanwhile Rahm made a big leap in the world rankings when he won the European Tour championship late last year and has been within sight of Rory McIlroy’s No. 1 ranking ever since.
He is guaranteed to become the 24th man to reach the pinnacle – and just the second from Spain, behind the late, great Seve Ballesteros – if he holds on to win tomorrow.
His nearest challengers are Americans Tony Finau and Ryan Palmer at eight-under par.
RYAN RUFFELS finished nicely with a 68 to be tied-18th in the Korn Ferry Tour’s San Antonio Championship today.
DEYEN LAWSON finished tied-18th in the European Tour’s Austrian Open.
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