Rahm struggles to 1-over 73 in 1st round at Torrey Pines

BERNIE WILSON Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Jon Rahm battled his way to a 1-over-73 at Torrey Pines South, which has become one of his favorite spots, while Sam Ryder, Aaron Rai and Brent Grant all shot 8-under 64s on Wednesday’s more forgiving north course Tie for first round lead at Farmers Insurance Open.

Rahm, ranked No. 3 in the world and trying to get his third win in as many starts, made a double bogey on the par 4 seventh hole and found himself constantly frustrated on the South Course. He got his first PGA Tour victory in 2017 on the Municipal Courses on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and then won the US Open on the South Course in 2021.

Rahm, who is seeking his 10th career Tour win, finished 116th with 11 others including playing partners Tony Finau and Justin Rose.

“Not good,” said the Spanish star as he signed autographs in the fading sunshine. Rahm won The American Express at PGA West in the Coachella Valley last weekend and the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua two weeks earlier.

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Ryder, Rai and Grant have never won on tour. Ryder comes from three straight missed cuts. Grant’s last four rounds were 74 or worse. They took a one-shot lead over Brendan Steele, who was at 7-under 65, and seven players fired another shot back at 6-under 66. Defending champion Luke List and world No. 8 Collin Morikawa were in a group of seven at 5-under 67.

The top six and 13 of the top 18 played the North Course. The players will change course on Thursday, with stronger winds forecast, and play the last two rounds on the south course.

PGA Tour rookie Sam Stevens and Andrew Novak had the best rounds on the South Course. Both were in the group at 66.

Rahm was 2 under through six holes before sending his second shot on No. 7 across the green into bushy native territory. After a penalty and a drop in the right rough, he chipped onto the green and made two putts.

Rahm then bogeyed #12s and #15s before shagging the par-3 16th.

“No. 7 was probably the best swing of the day, which cost me two shots,” said Rahm. “I’ve hit that shot with the same wind over 25 times in the past and I’ve never seen a ball go a pin up and today we don’t know what happened. Somehow he flew the pin 10 yards and into the obstacle. If it just flies the green and stays in the rough then it’s ok. But that was expensive.

“The key thing about today’s round was that I was 3 over par with the tee shots I hit on 6, 7, 12 and 13,” added Rahm. “In fact, every other round I’ve played here in the past, I’ve actually played this at least even par to under par, so it’s easily a three to five shot swing and that’s the difference.”

Ryder, a 33-year-old still looking for his first Tour win, opened his round with an eagle on the par-5 10th.

“No. 10 is one of the easier holes on the course, short par 5, beautiful hole going down to the sea,” he said. “You really think hitting it on the fairway, hitting it on the green, is nice. You think, OK, maybe I can do a 4. I wasn’t really thinking about attack, attack, but there wasn’t much to putt. He was actually pretty straight and he was one of those guys when he was halfway through, he looked pretty good and he just fell into it perfectly. It’s almost like a little bonus, but it’s really nice to start the round with a birdie or an eagle.”

DIVOTS: With the start on Wednesday, nobody had a quicker turnaround than Scott Brown. He competed in the Korn Ferry Tour of the Bahamas, a tournament that started on Sunday and ended on Wednesday. After making the cut on Monday, Brown realized he was the first substitute for Torrey Pines when John Huh retired. Brown retired from the Bahamas, flew to San Diego on Tuesday and was in the first group on Wednesday morning. He hit a 3-under 69 on the North Course.

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