RIDGELAND, S.C. — Jon RahmBecause of the long shadow across the green, he thought his 7-iron from just 195 yards had missed the pin. Moments later, he saw the crowd react to his shot that was only an inch away from hitting the hardest hole at Congaree.
Rahm should have anticipated that given the way his day went.
He found the center of the clubface with almost all shots and put on an exhibit Friday at the CJ Cup South Carolina. He made 10 birdies during his round of 9-under62, which gave him a share the lead. Kurt Kitayama.
Rahm, who just won the Spanish Open two weeks ago, didnt look like a player who is slowing down towards the end of the year.
He made four consecutive birdies on the front nine. All of them were within 10 feet. He made a bunker shot from 60ft on the par-4 8th, and a 35-footer at the par-3 10, before completing three straight birdies with his drive into the 17th. It landed just short of the cups edge. Only four other players made birdies at that hole in the second round.
This round was so good that he mentioned two swings which felt perfect. These were two swings he didnt convert to birdie.
He stated, It was lots of good out there today.
Rahm needed one more birdie to finish his career-low round. His wedge into the 18th rolled down a steep slope and landed against a bunkerrake. His pitch was strong, rolling at 30 feet and he made his one bogey.
Kitayama, a 29 year-old Californian who spent six years on both the Asian and European tours, shot a tough bunker shot on the par-5 12,th for a 65. Rahm was at 11-under 131.
Tom KimMcIlroy, who was aiming for his third PGA Tour title in his six previous starts, was catching up with McIlroy until a late bogey dropped McIlroy to a tie-for-sixth, 4 shots behind. McIlroy birdied McIlroys 18th hole to cap off a round of 30 on the back 9.
McIlroy is the defending champion and can reach No. McIlroy was more concerned about Rahm in the group ahead, if he wins.
McIlroy stated, I was trying to hold on to Rahm’s coattails.
Congaree is a fast course with steep slopes around the green, and it doesnt take long to get out of your position. McIlroy slid in front of himself twice. While he wasn’t off-line by much, it was enough that it cost him 2 shots on his front nine.
Then he hit a 30-foot putt on the par-3 10th green and was on his own.
Kitayama had played earlier and was never far from the lead, until Kitayamas round on the par-5 12th green changed everything. He was in a good bunker, which is a common place to miss, and thought that his ball was running a bit hot until it hit the pin. It dropped for eagle.
Kitayama stated, Went in dead centre, so that was good.
He also added a pair 10 foot birdie putts later in the round and holds a share of lead going into weekend for the first-time in his short PGA Tour experience.
It took the UNLV graduate a while to get home. He once played a developmental tour in Asia, where he was paid cash on the spot. But it was the best time. He placed 40th in the FedEx Cups inaugural year. This means that he will be taking part in at most eight of the elevated events next season, which offer at least $20,000,000 in prize money.
Rahm is still going strong, even though it is late in the year. He considers the Spanish Open important and won it for the third consecutive time to tie his national hero. Seve Ballesteros. He still wants to be Europes No. With the DP World Championship coming up in Dubai, he still has his sights on being Europes No.
Rahm said, It is Thanksgiving, so probably put a few pounds on. I dont need them, but I will be joining that club as everyone else most likely.