Rahm, Stenson share lead at Hero World Challenge
November 30, 2018
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Jon Rahm's interview after Round 2 of Hero
NASSAU, Bahamas – News and notes from Friday’s second round of the Hero World Challenge, where a young European star (Jon Rahm) and an older one (Henrik Stenson) share the lead by one stroke.
RAHM'S GROWING UP
Jon Rahm won twice in the 2018 calendar year – first at the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA TOUR in January, and then later in his native land at the Spanish Open. But what he accomplished in his golf game wasn’t nearly as important as what happened outside the ropes.
“This year was a big year of personal growth more than my golf game,” Rahm said Friday after shooting a sizzling bogey-free 9-under 63. “I was actually quite surprised on how well I played compared to what I had going on in my personal life … like I said, personal growth.”
Rahm didn’t get into details, preferring to keep those things limited to family and friends. But certainly a big step in his life was his engagement in August to longtime girlfriend Kelley Cahill. They’ve set a date for the wedding, but he wasn’t ready to share it.
Actually, make that two ceremonies.
“We’re really thinking of doing a small ceremony in Spain just because a lot of my family members can’t fly all the way to the U.S. …,” he said. “So do something small in Spain and then a couple months later, do a ceremony in the U.S.”
Cahill was on hand Friday to congratulate her future husband on the lowest round of the first two days. Rahm hit 14 of 18 greens, was solid off the tee, and was usually playing with a short club for his approach.
“The best way to describe it, having five par 5s and two relatively short par 4s – out of those seven holes, I got six birdies,” said Rahm, who is making his Hero World Challenge debut this week. “So I capitalized on the easier holes today … Didn’t seem like much could go wrong.”
Pro golfers are usually winding down this time of year, but Henrik Stenson has made it a habit of winning in the month of November.
He’s done it three times on the European Tour. Once on the Challenge Tour. And in 2008, he teamed up with Robert Karlsson to win the World Cup for Sweden.
Now he’s 36 holes away from another November win, and perhaps he has a couple of advantages over most other players in the field. He’s spent the Thanksgiving weekend with his family here, and after they returned home, he had an extra day of practice at Albany.
Or did he?
“If you think boating is working on the game,” he said, “then I did a lot of practice.”
Actually, it may be a bit of a surprise with how well Stenson’s game is going this week (he shot a 6-under 66 on Friday), considering he’s been out for five weeks while rehabbing from an elbow injury. He hasn’t shown any rust, though, and in fact the time off may be helping him this week.
“I guess I should be a little bit fresher than some of my colleagues who call me from Hong Kong or somewhere else at this point,” Stenson said. “I’m feeling all right. Just keep it going.”
TIGER UPDATE: It took a while for Tiger Woods to sign his scorecard (click here for the full story DESK please add link here) but he eventually signed for a 69 that was clean until the double bogey at 18. His iron play was better but his putting has yet to kick in through two rounds. “I finally hit my irons the way I normally do,” Wood said. “Other than the last tee shot, I felt I really hit the golf ball well.”
FINAU’S EAGLE: Tony Finau shot a 64 mostly by taking advantage of the five par 5s. He had three birdies and an eagle at the ninth when he chipped in from the off the green. “I was only 12-13 yards from the hole but I was in matted-down sand,” Finau said. “It one-hopped on the green and rolled in like a putt. Pretty cool.” At 8 under through two rounds, Finau is in solo fifth, two shots off the lead.
ONE SHOT BACK: Dustin Johnson and first-round co-leader Patrick Cantlay are tied for third at 9 under. Johnson shot a 67, making four consecutive birdies on his back nine. Cantlay shot a 70 in a round that included four birdies and two bogeys.
TOUGH DAY FOR REED: Patrick Reed was in the final group Friday after sharing the first-round lead with Cantlay. Things didn’t go as well for him in the second round. Reed opened with two bogeys, suffered a double-bogey on the par-4 seventh and failed to make a single birdie while posting a 5-over 77 that left him at 2 under and hear the bottom of the leaderboard.
BIRDIES FOR CHARITY: Jon Rahm and Patrick Cantlay are donating $500 for each birdie this week for California wildfire victims. Rahm had nine on Friday and 13 overall; Cantlay had four on Friday and 11 overall. The 24 birdies through the first two rounds equals $12,000.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Tony Finau eagle chip for Shot of the Day