Jon Rahm shuts down reporter's Rory McIlroy question after scintillating 63

Jon Rahm downplayed a Rory McIlroy moment after he moved to within striking distance of the leaders at the 2023 Open Championship.

Ben Smith's picture
Sat, 22 Jul 2023
Jon Rahm shuts down reporter's Rory McIlroy question after scintillating 63

Jon Rahm hailed his Saturday 8-under 63 at the 2023 Open Championship as the best round he's ever played on a links course. 

Rahm started his day at Royal Liverpool 12 shots behind the early, surprise leader Brian Harman. 

But the Spaniard showed us why he won the 2023 Masters, tearing round Hoylake in a display of clinical ball striking and red hot putting. 

Rahm teed off on moving day at 2-over par for the championship and began his third round with four consecutive pars. 

He sank at 10ft putt for birdie at No. 5, holed a 22-foot bomb at the par-3 9th before taking apart the back nine. 

Rahm rolled in a 14-foot birdie putt down the hill at 10, stuffed an approach at 11 for the easiest of birdies before somehow making a three at 12. 

His tee shot was way, way right and landed in the thick stuff. From 109 yards, he muscled his ball out of the rough and stuck it to 3ft 7ins. 

Rahm was also able to take advantage of the two remaining par-5s down the stretch, picking up strokes at 15 and 18. In between those holes he birdied 16 and made a safe par at the treacherous 17th. 

"That's the best round I've played on a links golf course ever," Rahm said after his course-record 63. 

Rahm added:

"It's my lowest round on a links course and it's an Open Championship, right? Also the lowest round shot on this course.
"Yeah, it feels really good, but it's a lot of work to do tomorrow."

Rahm said his job for Saturday was to give himself the best opportunity with 18 holes left to play. 

Should Rahm go on to win The Open on Sunday, he would become the first player since George Duncan in 1920 to come from 12 or more shots behind the leader after 36 holes. 

Earlier in the week Rahm expressed frustration at the TV crews following him, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose in the first round. 

"I'm trying to deal with the unlucky moment on 18, and there's somebody with a boom mic on my a** keeping up with Rory's pace, and I can't go at my own pace, Rahm said. "They kind of disregarded that I existed, that's all."

So did not playing with McIlroy make a difference, asked one reporter. 

Rahm continued: 

"Rory has nothing to do with it. It's just who you're playing with, that's about it.
"I mean, I can tell you right now I wasn't the only one thinking that. Couldn't walk off the tee. I don't know what else to say."

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Rahm appeared frustrated with his performance over the first two days. But he contended that's not the case and it's a misconception. 

He said: 

"I think I'm a lot more patient than most people believe I am, to be honest. 
"It's just I show my frustration a lot more than other people, but I'm extremely positive on the golf course." 

So will he do anything differently in the final round? Rahm said: "No. What should I do? What else do I need to do? I can't carry momentum if I'm making bogeys. There's nothing different between the player that was there yesterday and today. Not one difference."

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