No sooner had Jon Rahm completed his press duties than he headed straight to the practice ground. His third round at the ACCIONA Open de España was something of an ordeal. Nothing was working; a misfiring driver, a lack of distance control with his wedges and a stone-cold putter.
The main concern for the Basque is his driving. His trademark fade off the tee abandoned him on Saturday. His ball’s refusal to cut was particularly conspicuous on the front nine, where the Barrika native played most of his second shots from the rough.
It is no surprise that he immediately sought solutions after his round. In the mixed zone he hinted at what is to come on Sunday at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid: “I’ve come back from six behind to beat Rafa once before, why not again?”. He was referring to his win at the Irish Open when he shot a stunning 62 in the final round. Cabrera-Bello teed off as the leader on that occasion but it was the Basque that took the spoils.
Thanks to his compulsive winning mentality, he is still convinced victory is within his grasp. For any other player it would be a pipe dream, but Rahm has already shown what he is capable of. At this year’s US Masters he started round 4 11 shots off the lead and his belief was unshaken. He shot the round of the tournament that Sunday having stormed out of the blocks. Afterwards he said “I knew I had to shoot a course record to win and that’s what I tried to do”. Despite starting his round with a birdie and an eagle on his first two holes, his efforts were not quite enough.
In sport nothing is impossible, but one thing is clear; if Jon were to claim the title having started with a six-shot deficit and eight players in front of him, we would be talking about one of the biggest comebacks in the history of golf. If anyone can produce a miracle it is the world number one.