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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Brian Keogh

Jon Rahm pounces in Hawaii as Seamus Power struggles

Jon Rahm of Spain smiles after making his putt for birdie on the 18th green during the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

Séamus Power admitted he has "a lot of work to do" to get his game in shape but Jon Rahm feels like the best player in the world after coming from seven shots back to deny Collin Morikawa the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

The Spaniard claimed his third win in his last five starts worldwide when he made up a six-shot deficit in his last seven holes and roared home in five-under 31 to Morikawa's 39 to win by two shots on 27-under par after closing with a blistering, 10-under 63.

"Bit of a crazy day, I'm not gonna lie," said Rahm, who was nine shots behind when he bogeyed the first, and Morikawa made birdie.

"I'm like, 'We're going to need a small miracle.' After bogeying one, I was going to need somewhat of a larger miracle."

Morikawa began the day with a six-shot lead over Matt Fitzpatrick, Scottie Scheffler and JJ Spaun as he sought to win for the first time since the Open in 2021 and put to bed the demons of losing a five-stroke lead heading into the final round of the 2021 Hero World Challenge.

The two-time Major winner (25) was flying high after overhauling his putting and short game over the winter, and looked to be cruising to his sixth PGA Tour win when he went out in three-under 33 to lead by six shots from Fitzpatrick and Rahm on 27 under.

Everything changed in the middle of the back nine, however, as a relentless Rahm birdied the 12th, 13th and 14th and eagled the 15th to tie for the lead, and Morikawa imploded under pressure and bogeyed three holes in a row to find himself two behind.

After blading a bunker shot over the green at the 14th, he chunked a pitch at the 15th and then came up short with a 77-yard approach at the 16th.

When Rahm got up and down from greenside rough at the 18th for birdie to set the target at 27 under, Morikawa needed an albatross at the last to force a playoff and could only manage birdie for a closing 72 to go with opening rounds of 64, 66 and 65.

"Sadness," Morikawa said when asked what he was feeling at the finish. "I don't know. It sucks. You work so hard, and you give yourself these opportunities and just bad timing on bad shots kind of added up really quickly. Don't know what I'm going to learn from this week, but it just didn't seem like it was that far off. It really wasn't."

As Power carded a bogey-free, three-under 70 to tie for 25th on 15-under and remain top of the FedExCup standings, Rahm moved to fourth in the season-long race and but remained fifth in the world rankings.

"I feel like since August, I've been the best player in the world," said Rahm, who won the Spanish Open and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai at the end of last year.

Twelve months ago, Rahm shot 33-under and finished second to Cameron Smith and he admitted he felt for Morikawa.

"I think we've all been there," Rahm said before insisting he never lost hope.

"No, we have four days for a reason," Rahm said. "You have to complete all 72 holes, last time I checked. So, yeah, that's golf."

Rahm topped the field for strokes gained in putting which was the only saving grace for Power, who was eighth on the greens but near the back of the field for iron play and driving accuracy.

"It was pretty poor all around, to be honest," said the West Waterford man, who tees it up for Great Britain and Ireland in the Hero Cup at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on Friday and faced a long haul flight via Dallas and Dubai from Maui.

"It's one of those courses where you can kind of get away with it so it doesn't look so bad. But yeah, a lot of work to do."

He's scheduled to arrive in Abu Dhabi at lunchtime on Tuesday and admits he has a lot of work to do to get his game in shape.

"I actually putted pretty well, which is always nice to see after a break," Power admitted. "The rest of it wasn't great. So a lot of work to do. But yeah, I actually rolled it pretty nicely so that's always nice to see.

"But I need to work in just about everything else I'd say. So I have a bit of work to do, knocking off some rust and kind of figuring out what you've got.

"I am a bit away from where I'd like it to be, so some work to do over the next couple weeks."

Rory McIlroy remains at number one in the world rankings after Scottie Scheffler, who needed a top three finish to leapfrog him, closed with a 70 to tie for seventh in Kapalua.

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