Power hangs tough with putter as Rahm leads at La Quinta

Power hangs tough with putter as Rahm leads at La Quinta
 Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm blasted a 10-under 62 as Seamus Power birdied two of his last three holes to post a 70 in the CareerBuilder Challenge at La Quinta Country Club in California.

The West Waterford man came back from two-over four holes at PGA West's tough Stadium Course. 

And while he's eight shots behind the big Basque star, his six-birdie round included two key bogey saves from 10 and 12 feet in a round featuring 11 single putts.

As bad days go, there were plenty of positives.

Rahm will be looking forward to taking on the Jack Nicklaus Tournament course after an explosive 62 at La Quinta Country Club that saw the 23-year-old race to six under after seven holes.

His hot form was no great surprise considering he won the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai to end 2017 as world No 4, then finished second to Dustin Johnson in the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua two weeks ago to move up to third behind Johnson and Jordan Spieth in the rankings.

“Kapalua wasn’t the best ball-striking week of my life, but I was able to scramble really well and keep calm and have a good score,”  Rahm said. "Today it was the complete opposite. I just had it going."

A 59 was not out of the question after his hot start, but while he was out in 30, he couldn't keep up that pace.

“Maybe I relaxed a little too much,” he said. “I missed a couple of iron shots and had to struggle for pars. I’m just thankful to finish the way I did with a birdie on the 18th hole, which is always great for momentum.”

As Rahm shot 62 to lead by just one stroke from Austin Cook (Nicklaus), Jason Kokrak  (La Quinta) and Andrew Landry  (La Quinta), host Phil Mickelson shot a 70 at La Quinta that leaves him tied with Power on two under.

The 30-year-old began with a three-putt from 40 feet at the first, birdied the second from 18 feet but then bogeyed the par-three fourth and sixth, where he missed both greens.

His bogey at the fourth was a bonus as he took two chips to reach the green and had to make a 10 footer.

But he was soon back on track, making a 12 footer from just off the seventh green before hitting a wedge inside three feet from 99 yards at the eighth.

He then came home in 34 with a bogey at a par-three, the 13th — where he found a lake with his tee shot and was forced to make an eight-footer — cancelled out by three birdies.

The pick of the three was a 30 footer for a two at the 17th, one of just 24 putts he recorded yesterday.

Course scoring averages

  • Stadium Course: 70.84
  • Nicklaus Course: 68.69
  • La Quinta: 68.44