Jon Rahm eighth in Dustin Johnson’s victory

© Manuel Velasquez / Getty Images Sport

Justin Johnson, at 39 years old, the golfer who etched his name as the inaugural winner of the LIV Golf, clinching the mini-season that kicked off the rebel circuit in 2022, added another notable achievement with a victory in the second leg of the season, in Las Vegas.

Jon Rahm, who once again found himself leading with just four holes to go, encountered another stumbling finish and ended up eighth.

Jon Rahm, results

On greens as tricky as those at the Las Vegas Country Club, it was tough to rack up birdies on the final day, which was moved up to Saturday to avoid clashing with the Super Bowl.

The combination of cold weather and wind made for a frustrating cocktail for most golfers. In the first nine holes, the five players vying for the title – mentioned Dustin, Uihlein, Wolff, DeChambeau, and Rahm – separated by two strokes, managed just eight birdies among them, offset by five bogeys.

Rahm, the sole player returning to the final showdown from those who contended for the title until the very end at Mayakoba the previous week, charged into the final stretch with a birdie on the 10th hole, following a superb drive that left him with a 90-meter wedge shot.

His success tightened the leaderboard even further, with Peter Uihlein, the golfer who accompanied Brooks Koepka to Europe over a decade ago to learn to play on all types of courses, and Matthew Wolff, known for his powerful swings and criticized last year by his captain Brooks, just one stroke behind the Barrika native.

DeChambeau, meanwhile, after a double bogey on the 10th, had hit a rough patch. The two leaders failed to capitalize on the par 5 15th hole, the day’s last chance for respite. And in that momentum, they bogeyed the 16th. It was Jon’s opportunity.

Also Dustin Johnson’s and Kokrak’s, the latter climbing up the ranks with a couple of birdies sunk from outside with the putter. All six were at 10 under par, including Talor Gooch, the 2023 LIV champion. Rahm navigated the long stretch erratically from the tee and ended up with a bogey – and another on the 18th – which knocked him out of contention as Dustin assumed a hegemonic role.

In the head-to-head battle with Uihlein, the South Carolinian’s experience weighed heavily – he capitalized on the first putt he had – clinching the third LIV tournament in the circuit’s three seasons of existence. The first without the need for a playoff. As for the team event, victory went to the Smash team comprising Koepka, Kokrak, Gooch, and McDowell.

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