Jon Rahm’s game showed few signs of improvement in round three at the ACCIONA Open de España presented by Madrid, but the world number 3 did manage to carve out a 67: “it’s been my worst ball-striking day and I’ve got a low score. The difference was holing a couple more putts, and those shots that I left close on 10 and 15. I was feeling better on the greens, but pretty bad about everything else”.
In an ideal world, the best player would always win, but that has not been the case over the Basque player’s last 36 holes: “The golfing gods are hilarious and you don’t always have to hit the ball well to go low. With a little bit of luck and a couple of good shots at the right time, you can really change the way a day is going. Holing that putt on 8 was the key to later hitting a good shot on 9, again on 10, and that really improves your game”.
His winning mentality and never-say-die attitude are not in any doubt. The Spaniard spoke about the mental side of the game at times like this: “on days like today, it is easier to do well mentally than yesterday, because you will make bad swings. But hitting one good putt after another and none of them dropping is one of the toughest things in golf. Also, it is very easy to want to do too much and then it starts to affect you and the rest of your game. However, today when the putt on 1 went in and the short ones on 3 and 4, it gave me more confidence that despite not being at my best, anything is possible”.
Talking with the benefit of hindsight is simple, which is why nobody can tell you what would have become of Jon Rahm had his birdie putt on 14 dropped today. It is a hole that he normally birdies or eagles. But today, he had problems from the start”: I had nothing to lose and I went for it off the tee, it didn’t come off, but you can’t take another risk or you might get into real trouble. Of course, if I had hit the fairway and made eagle instead of bogey, I’m sure everything would be very different, but it’s not always that easy”.
The opportunities are running out and if Jon Rahm wants a fourth Open de España crown, he will have to do something truly heroic over his last 18 holes on Sunday: “let’s see if those at the top don’t get too far away, although the course is easy because it rained and there’s no wind, so you would expect them to reach -15. That puts me eight shots back. I’ll have to go very low tomorrow to win, but I’m going to go out to play, to shoot as low as possible, and try to entertain the fans”.
Regarding those fans, asked if he had anything to say to them about tomorrow’s round, Jon made a joke but then declared: “I’d like them to send me a message of confidence, I’m doing average at the moment… But all I can say is that I hope the best is still to come, that with their help I’m sure it will be easier”.