World No.3 Jon Rahm produced a scintillating back nine on Friday when flirting with the cut to surge into the weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open.
After an opening round of 73, the Spaniard knew he needed to go low on the North Course on day two to stand a chance of his fifth win in his last seven starts. The first day ended his run of 12 below-par rounds in a row to start the season.
Things certainly weren't going to plan for Rahm whose temper was beginning to intensify on the first nine. He started with two birdies, but two bogeys took him to 1-over for the week and he was in danger of breaking his run of 21 consecutive cuts.
The par-5 5th hole was the turning point. Rahm arrowed his approach from 191 yards tight to the pin and his putt dropped in the front of the cup for an eagle.
He moved out of 116th place and into tied 44th. After making a birdie on the 6th hole, he lipped out for an eagle on the short par-4 7th hole having impressively driven the green.
116 T44@JonRahmPGA moves inside the cut line with an eagle on No. 5 @FarmersInsOpen. pic.twitter.com/WjHnm0oo5Z— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 26, 2023
So. Close.@SamRyderSU sticks it to one foot pic.twitter.com/uoQnStIoxj— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 26, 2023
The 28-year-old was in a steely, determined mood. He made another clutch putt on the long par-3 8th hole to reach 4-under for the week. He'd gone 5-under in the space of four holes.
Rahm is trying to win for the third time in a row, a feat that has only been achieved twice in the last decade on Tour. He won the Farmers Insurance Open in 2017 and he also won the US Open at Torrey Pines two seasons ago.
He held off the challenge of Davis Thompson at The American Express last week and he upset the odds when chasing down Collin Morikawa at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
The nine-time PGA Tour winner is eight shots behind the leader Sam Ryder who is looking for his first win on the Tour. Ryder opened his week with a 64 and his 68 on the South Course puts him three shots ahead of Brendan Steele on 12-under, his closest pursuer.
Rahm's playing partners Justin Thomas and Tony Finau failed to make significant moves in San Diego. Thomas shot a 2-over 74 to finish on 2-under for the week, while Finau carded a 1-under 71 to finish on level par which should see him into the weekend.