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Jon Rahm isn’t your typical first-timer this week at the Tour Championship at East Lake. When he began his first full season on the PGA Tour at last fall’s Safeway Open (where he tied for 15th), the young Spaniard was No. 123 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Less than a year later, the 22-year-old Rahm has two wins (one at the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open and the other at the European Tour’s Irish Open), a dozen worldwide top 10s and has climbed to No. 5 in the world.
In his first go-around with the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Rahm has recorded three consecutive top 5s, and enters the finale as one of five players who can clinch the FedEx title and it’s $10 million bounty with a victory. (There’s even a mathematical possibility that Rahm could finish in a two-way tie for second and win.)
The best way I can describe it is it’s been a year in which I definitely overachieved, Rahm said. I’ve accomplished goals that weren’t even in my mind before this year. Top 10 in the world? That was years down the road. Top 5 in world? That was years down the road. European Tour champion? That was years down the road.
We’re talking about things that I had in mind for one, two, three years down the road, and I was able to accomplish them before my first year on the PGA Tour ended.
Rahm has been giving indicators that he’s a special talent for years. At the first round of the 2013 NCAA Championship at the Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course near Atlanta, the then-freshman at Arizona State fired an opening-round 61. To this day, Rahm continues to impress.
Heck, Jon Rahm even continues to amaze Jon Rahm.
I don’t think anybody in the world would’ve predicted a year like this for me, even myself, Rahm said.
Rahm turned pro in June 2016 and earned his PGA Tour card the hard way, earning enough FedEx Cup points to gain full-time status through sponsor exemptions. He set two goals to start his 2016-17 campaign: win a tournament and make it to East Lake.
Now, there’s a considerable difference between making it to East Lake and winning there. But after a tie for fifth at the BMW, he’ll not only play, he’ll have a great shot at bringing home the FedEx Cup.
I’ve had to keep adding goals, Rahm said.
Major championship? You can bet that Rahm will be gunning to add one of those next season. And then there’s No. 1 in the world, something that, at age 22, is very much in sight.
If that all sounds a bit crazy considering that Rahm will make only his 30th start as a pro this week, you’re not alone in being astounded.
So, too, is he.
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