As if he hadn’t already, Arizona State golfer Jon Rahm proved once and for all why he could be, should be, and is considered one of the best amateur golfers in the country. Rahm solidified that mark at the 2014 U.S. Amateur, taking down Rico Hoey from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. in the Round of 32 by a score of 3 & 2 on Thursday, before falling to Corey Connors of Canada, 3 & 1.
Rahm, one of two golfers from Spain to compete in the Round of 32 and the only to advance, quickly went 2-up on Hoey. The fast start was somewhat different for Rahm, who had come from behind to take his victories in earlier tournament appearances. This round proved to be the opposite, as he refused to relinquish his grasp on the lead throughout the entire 18 holes. He birdied five holes on the round, and comfortably advanced onto the Round of 16, where he would face Conners.
Conners quickly gained a 2-hole advantage over Rahm with birdies on both holes one and three. Rahm shot par on all the first three holes, all par-4. By the completion of the front nine Conners held onto a safe 3-stroke lead, but Rahm stormed back, just as he had throughout the first two rounds of the tournament, and won the next three out of four holes, tying the match going onto the 14th hole.
Unlike previous rounds, Rahm was unable to sustain his charge, going on to drop the next three out of four holes, leaving Conners as the winner without having to play the final hole.
Though Rahm finished three holes behind Conners, he finished only two strokes behind him. Rahm birdied three holes, bogeyed two, and shot par on the rest, showing that he played quite well despite the loss.
All in all, Sun Devil golf can rest easy knowing its top shooter remains in mid-season form as the beginning of the season awaits in the near future.
Rahm, who will be a junior at Arizona State next season with two honorable mention All-America honors in his possession, won the Spanish Amateur earlier this summer by shooting a 5-under 276 that included a 7-under 64 in the final round after starting with a 73 in the first round (with Sun Devil teammate Ben Shur as his caddie) In late June. Rahm also clinched the Palmer Cup for Europe with a 4 and 2 victory against Wyndham Clark, continuing the strong tradition of Sun Devils playing well in the match play event.
PAST SUN DEVIL U.S. AMATEUR CHAMPION RESULTS
1987: Bill Mayfair d. Eric Rebmann, 4 and 3; Jupiter Hills Club (Hills Course), Jupiter, Fla.; Medalist — 141, Scott Gump; Entries: 4,084
1990: Phil Mickelson d. Manny Zerman, 5 and 4; Cherry Hills C.C., Englewood, Colo.; Medalist — 135, Phil Mickelson; Entries: 4,765
2000: Jeff Quinney d. James Driscoll, 39 holes; Baltusrol G.C., Springfield, N.J.; Medalists — 137, Jim Salinetti, Jeff Wilson; Entries: 7,124
ABOUT SUN DEVIL JON RAHM
--Won the 2014 ASU Thunderbird Invitational in March with a record-breaking 21-under 192 and led the nation for the second straight year with 12 eagles after notching nine in his freshman season.
--He will enter his junior season of 2014-15 with three collegiate tournament wins, a 71.13 stroke average in 27 career events and 31 rounds in the 60s.
--The Spaniard has posted par or better in 47 of 83 career rounds. This past season his 70.84 stroke average was the best by a Sun Devil since Niklas Lemke shot 70.03 in 2006-07.
--He also averaged 3.06 on par-three scoring, best by a Sun Devil since Chez Reavie averaged 3.05 in 2003-04.
--Earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2013-14 and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2012-13.
--Shot a NCAA Championship opening-round record of 61 on May 28, 2013.
JON RAHM CAREER COLLEGIATE WINS
2014 ASU Thunderbird Invitational 62-64-66=192/-21 (March 21-23, 2014)
2013 Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic 72-70-67=209/-7 (March 11-12, 2013)
2012 Bill Cullum Invitational 72-65-67=204/-12 (Oct. 21-22, 2012)
JON RAHM CAREER STATISTICS
2013-14: 12 TOURNAMENTS/37 ROUNDS/70.84 STROKE AVERAGE
2012-13: 15 TOURNAMENTS/46 ROUNDS/71.37 STROKE AVERAGE
CAREER: 27 TOURNAMENTS/83 ROUNDS/71.13 STROKE AVERAGE