LOS ANGELES — Jon Rahm found himself in an unusual position on Friday, scrambling to make the cut.
After another frustrating day at the Genesis Invitational, Rahm was on the cut line, even tied for the tournament, when he set his drive in the right way at Riviera’s par-4 finisher. Blocked by eucalyptus trees, he cut his approach around the branches and on the left fringe, 22 feet from the flag. But crossing the sticky grass, his putt expired long before the hole.
Suddenly there was drama: he needed that slippery 6-footer to play on the weekend and avoid his second missed cut of the young Tour season – which would have been more than he had during the entire 2020-21 campaign.
Rahm’s par putt tipped on the front edge of the cup, his 73 in the second round giving him two more rounds. After signing his card, he headed straight for the range, for cleanup work. He ranked 25and in the field in shots gained: tee to green but was an abysmal 110and both in the putting and around the greens.
Complete scores of The Genesis Invitational
Rahm’s gritty par stoppage at the end may also have significant implications for the next 36 holes.
Despite a steady diet of good finishes over the past few months, Rahm could hand over his No. 1 ranking to Collin Morikawa at Riviera. If Morikawa (currently in sixth place, eight strokes back) wins the Genesis and Rahm finishes worse than fourth in solo, there will be a change at the top. Rahm has held the No. 1 ranking since last July.
A similar scenario is in place this week with world No. 3 Patrick Cantlay, but that’s highly unlikely – Cantlay has also reduced the number, putting him 16 shots clear of the lead.