Jon Rahm shot a low-round 64 on moving day at the Players Championship, and will take a one-shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy into Sunday’s finale at TPC Sawgrass.
The 24-year old Spaniard signed for a card comprised of one bogey against an eagle and seven birdies. Rahm’s day was highlighted by back-to-back gains on Nos. 16 and 17, helping him secure the 54-hole marquee position on 15-under par.
“It was a great day. Didn’t miss many shots out there,” said Rahm, who is ranked No. 10 in the world. “The only bogey today I made was at 6, and it was after a good shot that landed a foot from the hole. So it was one of those days.
“Really, really confident with my irons. Every time I stepped up I thought I was going to have — I felt like I was going to hit a good shot, and I think the one key that me and [caddie] Adam did well today is just being decisive.
“Every time we got to a shot, we picked the wind, sticked with one wind. We know it swirls, so just listen to the forecast, remember what it did and what it was supposed to do and just pick a shot and stick to it.”
Fleetwood and McIlroy, who carded matching 70s on Saturday, have appeared in the weekend’s final pairings multiple times at both Bay Hill and TPC Sawgrass. The Englishman, who will be paired with Rahm in the final group, sounded pleased to be in contention again.
“I think at the end of the day, winning is very difficult,” noted Fleetwood, when asked about breaking through.
“Four days of golf is a long time, like I’ve said before. But you have to take the positives all the time about how consistent your golf is, how — I am happy with how consistent I feel like I can be and shoot a lot of good scores and put myself in contention a lot.
“Of course, like everybody, I would like to win more.”
McIlroy, who has been criticized for not being able to close on Sundays, tried to downplay his top position.
“In a good position, not the best position I could be in, but I thought after the start today that to play the last 16 holes in 4-under par with no bogeys was a good effort,” said McIlroy, who owns five-consecutive finishes inside the top-6.
Two further back was Jason Day, who made birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 en route to a 68 and three-day total of 12-under par, good for a spot in the penultimate pairing alongside McIlroy.
Abraham Ancer (70) was alone in fifth-place on 11-under par, one shot clear of a six-player jogjam at 10 under, which included Dustin Johnson.
2019 PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Pos-Player-Score (3rd Rd)
1. Jon Rahm -15 (-8)
2. Tommy Fleetwood -14 (-2)
2. Rory McIlroy -14 (-2)
4. Jason Day -12 (-4)
5. Abraham Ancer -11 (-2)
Driving: Ollie Schniederjans – 321.0 yards (T6)
Fairways: Brian Gay- 36/42, 85.7% (T32)
Greens: Brandt Snedeker – 45/54, 83.3% (T6)
Putts/GIR: Justin Rose – 1.583 (T16)
Via PGA TOUR Youtube
You’ve won a handful of really good tournaments around the world, but how anxious are you to break through and take one of this magnitude?
JON RAHM: This would be absolutely amazing. The last two years I played okay golf. I was able to post scores but I didn’t see myself — I wouldn’t say that next year I was going to win this event.
Like last year I wouldn’t have said that just because I thought that the golf, it was a golf course I need to learn, I needed to play really good at, and this change to March kind of benefits me a little bit and I’ve been a lot more comfortable off the tee especially and some iron shots, as well.
So it would be absolutely amazing to name yourself a PLAYERS champion. It’s definitely one of those events that they consider to get you in the Hall of Fame. It’s career defining. There’s very few select players that get to win here and only a very few number that have gotten to do it more than once, so it shows that to win out here you need to play really, really good golf, so it would be an incredible win if I get to do it.
Credit: ASAP Fastscripts, Getty Images, PGA TOUR Media