Jon Rahm wins the CareerBuilder Challenge after a playoff with American Andrew Landry


Jon Rahm wins CareerBuilder Challenge

Jon Rahm clinched his second win on the PGA Tour at the CareerBuilder Challenge in California, edging American Andrew Landry at the fourth extra hole to move to number two in the world ranking.

On another day of low scoring at La Quinta, Rahm fired a five-under 67 to reach a 22-under total, but Landry matched him with a birdie at the last to force extra holes.

And four goes were needed to find a winner, the Spaniard eventually holing from 10 feet in the fading light with Landry missing from a similar distance from the other side of the hole.

It was Rahm’s fourth worldwide win since turning professional less than 20 months ago, and he heads to the Farmers Insurance Open next week – an event that will include Tiger Woods – full of confidence to successfully defend his title.

“It’s hard to believe, to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth, three-time Major champion, I only have two wins, he’s got 10 plus, right? It’s, again, I said it many times, I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now, especially the way I won both victories, it couldn’t be anymore different than the other,” Rahm reflected.

The 23-year-old had started the day two shots adrift of overnight leader Austin Cook, but despite no-one breaking away from a bunched leaderboard, Rahm always looked the most comfortable and he made his move with a fine birdie at the long par-3 13th, his tee shot rolling out to two feet from 210 yards.

But Landry gave chase and made a two from distance at the same hole, and held his nerve down the straight to force the playoff.

And it was the 30-year-old Texan who looked favourite to take the title when he flushed his drive down 18 at the fourth extra hole. But Rahm showed his class from the rough to fire his approach straight over the pin and he rolled in the putt.

Had neither player forced a victory on the fourth extra hole, they’d have been required to come back to settle the contest on Monday.

“I did not want to come back the next day and play,” Rahm admitted. “After Andrew hit his shot, I had a good angle and a good lie in the rough, so I decided to take dead aim and hope for the best.”

3 talking points from the CareerBuilder Challenge

1 – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise continues. At 23, he’s already won twice on both the PGA Tour and European Tour. Wherever he tees it up he plays the game in an attacking style that is winning him plenty of praise and an army of fans. Just look at the eyes when he’s in contention and you’ll see a player who thrives in the spotlight.

This wasn’t the strongest field in California, nor was the Stadium Course the sternest test. But in many ways that made the victory all the more impressive. Everyone was bombing the ball off the tee and reaching the par 5s in two, which levelled out the contest to a certain degree.

Yet Rahm proved he had that little bit extra. He had that winning experience unlike a number of the chasing pack, and he backed himself to putt his way to victory.

2 – Patton Kizzire – The Sony Open winner didn’t have his A-game this week. However, this is a name we might be hearing quite a lot of. In finishing T42 this was just his second finish outside the top 15 in his past seven starts.

3 – This was a day for birdies. On a forgiving layout, only birdies were going to get the job done. Austin Cook led by one overnight, yet he only managed two birdies and racked up two very costly double bogeys to slump to a final-round 75, which saw him slip outside the top 10.

CareerBuilder Challenge
Stadium Course,  La Quinta,  California
Jan 18-21
Purse: $5,900,000

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage.

1 Jon Rahm (ESP) 62 67 70 67 266 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry (USA) 63 65 70 68 266 $637,200
T3 John Huh (USA) 68 69 65 66 268 $306,800
T3 Adam Hadwin (CAN) 66 67 67 68 268 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller (USA) 64 67 67 70 268 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell (USA) 71 64 67 67 269 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy (USA) 68 65 66 70 269 $205,025
T8 Sam Saunders (USA) 70 67 69 64 270 $171,100
T8 Brandon Harkins (USA) 64 68 68 70  270 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak (USA) 63 67 71 69 270 $171,100