NORTON, MA – Rookie Jon Rahm fired a 5-under 66 on Saturday and leads the Dell Technologies Championship after 36 holes at TPC Boston.
Rahm struggled to start his day, and was 2-over through eight holes. But the young Spaniard turned it around with an eagle on the ninth (No. 18) to get to even at the turn.
After a par on his first homeward hole, Rahm ripped off three straight birdies (11 through 13) to reach 3-under par. The 22-year old then cruised home with two more birdies to finish his back nine at 5-under 31 and a two-round total of 9-under par.
“I don’t know what to say. I played a nearly perfect back nine. Felt like I didn’t miss a shot. I felt I putted for birdie pretty much from every hole from a really close distance. Nothing to say about that one,” said Rahm, who, with a win, would move to No. 2 in the FedExCup standings.
Last year’s 54-hole leader, Paul Casey, headlines a group of four players at 7-under.
Casey, who entered Boston at No. 12 in the FedExCup standings, guaranteed his slot in the Tour Championship at East Lake with his performance in the first two rounds at TPC Boston.
“I like it because there’s light at the end of the tunnel and you can see a conclusion now to the end of the season,” said Casey. “Certainly East Lake, not to get ahead, that’s one where I really enjoy playing, so it’s nice to know that I’m already guaranteed to go all the way through to that.”
Adam Hadwin (65), Kyle Stanley (68), and Kevin Streelman (65) are also at 7-under.
Fan favorite Phil Mickelson leads a another group of four players at 6-under, including Bryson DeChambeau (67), Marc Leishman (69), and Grayson Murray (68).
The 47-year old Mickelson followed up his impressive opening-round 69 with a 4-under 67 – his two best opening rounds in months.
“It was a good start. It’s fun to get in contention, and it’s fun to start shooting some scores that I feel like I’ve been playing well enough to shoot. But it’s been a good first two days,” said Mickelson.
Jordan Spieth moved 32 spots up the leaderboard on Saturday following a 6-under 65. The three-time major winner leads a logjam of five players at 5 under.
“It was a bad day at the office yesterday and a really good one today,” said Spieth. “I’m going to need two really good ones again. But to be within four shots after yesterday’s round is a tremendous accomplishment in its own. Just going to need to keep the birdies coming.”
First round leader Dustin Johnson, who played with Spieth in the first two rounds, shot a 1-over 72 and dropped a stroke to 4-under (T15). Defending champ Rory McIlroy missed the cut after a second-round 3-over 74.
TOP 10: ROUND TWO
1 Jon Rahm -9
T2 Paul Casey -7
T2 Adam Hadwin -7
T2 Kyle Stanley -7
T2 Kevin Strelman -7
T6 Phil Mickelson -6
T6 Bryson DeChambeau -6
T6 Grayson Murray -6
T6 Marc Leishman -6
T10 Jordan Spieth -5
T10 Justin Rose -5
T10 Kevin Na -5
T10 Hudson Swafford -5
T10 Patrick Cantlay -5
T15 Patrick Reed, Louis Oosthuizen, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas -4
T28 Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler -2
T34 Bill Haas, Brooks Koekpa -1
T41 Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar E
T47 Jhonattan Vegas, Hideki Matsuyama +1
T57 Ian Poulter, Jason Day +2
T69 Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, Daniel Berger +3
NOTES: ROUND TWO
- Rahm has made 10 putts over 10 feet in his debut at the Dell Technologies Championship – the most from that range in tournament history at TPC Boston through 36 holes.
- Defending champion McIlroy missed cut for the first time (in seven starts) in Boston.
- Bubba Watson (T69) bounced back from a 4-over 75 in round one with a 1-under 70 in round two to make the cut but is projected at No. 80. Watson is in danger of failing to advance to the BMW Championship for the first time in his career.
- Six bogey-free rounds on Saturday: Branden Grace (64), Scott Brown (65), Pat Perez (67), Justin Thomas (67), Harold Varner III (67), and Hudson Swafford (68).
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: ROUND TWO
QUOTABLE: JON RAHM
“I had a few goals early on in the year, and I ended up accomplishing a lot more than the ones I had in mind. And I believe, after Colonial, I got into the Top-10 in the world. This is kind of what, you know — it made me complacent of what I had accomplished all year.”