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Posted January 8, 2023 in "Watts" In The Bag by Tom Brassell
By The Associated Press
KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Jon Rahm began the bold new year on the PGA Tour by coming from seven shots behind to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Sunday with plenty of help from Collin Morikawa, who had a spectacular wipeout even by Maui standards.
Rahm was six shots behind on the 13th hole at Kapalua when he ran off three straight birdies and a 12-foot eagle putt, and his final birdie gave him a 10-under 63.
Morikawa had gone 67 holes without a bogey on the Plantation Course when it all fell apart with his wedges and his putter, the two areas that had carried him to a six-shot lead at the start of the day.
From 25 yards short of the 14th green, he blasted out of a bunker and over the green. He muffed a wedge from a tight lie with the grain of grass into him on the par-5 15th. His wedge to the 16th didn’t go far enough and rolled some 60 feet back into the fairway.
Morikawa looked to be in a state of shock as he walked down the 17th fairway, leading by as many as seven shots during the final round and suddenly finding himself two shots behind and running out of hope.
He wound up tying a PGA Tour record for losing the largest 54-hole lead at six shots. Seven other players have done that, most recently Dustin Johnson in the fall of 2017 at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
Rahm finished at 27-under 265 to win by two shots over Morikawa, who birdied the 18th hole — his first birdie since No. 6 — to close with a 72.
It was the second such collapse by Morikawa in a little more than a year. He closed out 2021 at the Hero World Challenge and had a five-shot lead with a chance to reach No. 1 in the world with a victory. He shot 76 and finished fifth.
Masters champion Scottie Scheffler had a chance to return to No. 1 this week if he finished in a two-way tie for third or better. He had to settle for a 70 and tied for seventh.
It was a small measure of redemption for Rahm, who last year finished at 33-under par at Kapalua which was a PGA Tour record that lasted only a few seconds. Cameron Smith finished at 34 under to win by one.
Rahm now is 60 under in his last two appearances at Kapalua. The victory was his ninth on the PGA Tour and 17th worldwide, and assures he will be back on Maui to start 2024.
Rahm now has won three times in his last six starts worldwide — he won in Spain and Dubai late last year — and he goes home with $4.2 million.
Rahm won $2.7 million from the $15 million purse at Kapalua, the first of the “elevated” events on the PGA Tour schedule. He also gets 25% of his Player Impact Program bonus money — he finished No. 5 in the PIP for $6 million.
The Spaniard now has won in each of his seven full years on the PGA.
Tom Hoge had a 64 and tied for third with Max Homa (66). Hoge headed for the airport to go to Los Angeles to watch his school, TCU, playing for the national championship against Georgia. Hoge then will go back to Hawaii for the Sony Open.
Check out “Watts” in Jon Rahm’s bag below.
Driver: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond LS (10.5 degrees @11.2) – Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 TX (45.25 inches, tipped 1 inch)
3-wood: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond T (16 degrees @15.1) – Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 85TX (43.25 inches, tipped 1.5 inches)
5-wood: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond T (@18. degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI (Black) 8 X (42 inches, tipped 2 inches, D4)
Irons: Callaway Apex TCB (4-PW) – Shafts: Project X 6.5
Wedges: Callaway Jaws Forged (52-10, 56-12 @55.25, and 60-10 degrees) – Shafts: Project X 6.5
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG Rossie S (37 inches)
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X