Rahm Rallies From 9 Shots Down to Beat Morikawa in 71st Sentry TOC

Jon Rahm of Spain was there to take advantage of the situation when Collin Morikawa faltered.

The fifth-ranked Rahm was nine strokes behind early in the final round, but shot 10-under par 63 to take a two-shot victory over Morikawa in the 71st Sentry Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.

“If you had told me after I made a bogey on the first hole that I was going to win, I certainly wouldn’t have believed it,” said Rahm, who claimed his eighth PGA Tour victory and his third win in his last five events around the world.

“But I got on a run there with three birdies in a row through No. 6, then made three more in a row through No. 14, and just kept going. Then when I made that (eagle) putt on No. 15 it suddenly became a reality that I really had a chance to win.

“It was quite a roller-coaster.”

Morikawa, who had been in the lead almost from the start of the tournament, took a six-stroke lead into the final round and was seven shots ahead of the field after making birdies on three of the first six holes on the front nine.

However, Morikawa who played the first 67 holes of the tournament bogey-free, made three bogeys on the back nine and closed with a 72.

“It’s sadness and it sucks,” said the 11th-ranked Morikawa, from La Canada Flintridge and Cal who has five PGA Tour victories. “I worked so hard to put myself in this position this week and then gave it all away. It’s tough and it hurts, but I have to think about some of the good golf I played, too.

“Everything felt fine and I was playing well again, but I hit some good putts that just didn’t go in. My game hasn’t felt that good for a long time and I thought I had it back together, but again I couldn’t put four good rounds together this week, which has been a problem. On this course, 72 is not a good score.

“(Rahm) shot a great score, 63, but I still had the victory within reach, but just didn’t get it done.”

Max Homa of Valencia and Cal, who posted a 63 in round three, holed out from 102 yards for an eagle on the 13th hole on his way to a 66 and finished four behind in a tie for third with Tom Hoge, who sank a five-foot eagle putt at No. 15 in a 64.

J.J. Spaun of Los Angeles and San Diego State birdied three of the last four holes in a second straight 69 and was one more down in a tie for fifth with Tom Kim of South Korea, who birdied five of the last seven holes for a second straight 66.

Second-ranked Scottie Scheffler, who could have regained the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings with a higher finish, birdied two of the last three holes for a 70 to wind up six strokes behind in a tie for seventh with ninth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England, who sank a 29-foot eagle putt at No. 5 in another 70; Tony Finau, who birdied five of the last seven holes for a bogey-free 66, and K.H. Lee of South Korea, who had four birdies on the back nine in a 67.

Seventh-ranked Will Zalatoris, playing for the first time in several months following a back injury, tied for 11th after a 65, while fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA totaled 68 to tie for 16th, 10th-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway had a bogey-free 66 to tie for 18th, and eighth-ranked Justin Thomas, a two-time Sentry TOC champion, tied for 25th after a 12-foot eagle putt at No. 15 left him at 70.

The second PGA Tour event of 2023 will be played in the Sony Open in Hawaii beginning Thursday at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, where Hideki Matsuyama of Japan is the defending champion.

For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html     

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