ASU junior Jon Rahm is the only amateur competing in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. But nothing about his play says "amateur."
Rahm, who received one of five sponsor exemptions to compete in the tournament, shot a 3-under 68 on Friday and is 4-under overall, which places him in a tie for 14th overall as of press time at TPC Scottsdale.
Rahm bogeyed the ninth hole on Friday, but an 18-foot par save on the 10th hole sprung momentum as Rahm birdied three times on the back nine. On the course, Rahm was joined by ASU coach Tim Mickelson and senior teammate/caddie Ben Shur.
"It’s great to have the support from my teammates," Rahm said. "They obviously want the best from me so it’s really nice to see them screaming for me."
Rahm said nerves got to him during Thursday's first round, especially because he started on the back nine. He bogeyed on 14 and double-bogeyed 15. His wild first round continued when he eagled on 17 and had three consecutive birdies on holes 1-3.
Part of the nerves may have come from Rahm's boisterous applause when he wore a No. 42 ASU jersey honoring Pat Tillman on the 16th hole with the name "Rahmbo" on the back.
With players not allowed to throw items into the stands at the 16th hole anymore, Rahm was looking for another way to get the crowd energized. Rahm is also carrying around the Pat Tillman bag honoring soldiers that give service.
Video by Justin Janssen, Sports Editor
“I kind of feel like I belong here," Rahm said. "Yesterday I was really nervous starting on the back nine... I learned from that and I was just like ‘whatever happens, just enjoy it.”
Rahm said he had four practice rounds at TPC Scottsdale before, which helped him be accustomed to it. Over this tournament, all players had to adjust to to rainy conditions.
"Where I live (Spain), our climate is actually kind of like this – it gets cold and rainy so I’m kind of used to this kind of weather and I got to say thank you to my caddie (Ben Shur) who really helped me out a lot today," Rahm said. "He did a great job keeping everything dry so it was easier to play golf."
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