Jon Rahm made an astonishing seven-shot recovery, with significant help from Collin Morikawa, to claim a remarkable victory at the Hawaii Ranger Masters Tournament.
Morikawa started the day with a six shot lead and was seven points clear after clearing the first six holes in three under par, but did not make another birdie until Day 18 and gradually lost his lead over Kapalua.
Rahm, who shot 33-under-par for second place to Cameron Smith last year, recovered from a bogey on the first of eight birdies in the next 13 holes, then shot from 12 feet to eagle on the 15th hole.
This put the former world number one one step away from the lead, and moments later it was tied. Morikawa thinned a shot across the green from Bunker 14 for his first shot of the week.
Morikawa, who squandered a five-shot lead and a chance to become world No. 1 in the final round of the Hero World Challenge in December 2021, understandably felt the pressure and dropped his shot down to 15th for a second bogeyman card in a row.
Curling his approach to 16th from the front of the green cost Morikawa his third straight bogey, and Rahm’s 18th birdie effectively sealed the win with a stunning final 63.
At 27, under par, Rahm had two shots ahead of Morikawa, whose bird 18 finished the final round with 72.
“If you had told me at the start of the round, after that bogeyman, that I was going to do what I did, I don’t know if I would have believed you,” Rahm told NBC.
“But at this point, it’s not like winning is really in the head, you just have to get to work and start making birds and that’s what I did.
“On day 15 when it really became a reality, when I had that putt to get one shot distance and knowing how well I play, 16 and 18 are good birdie options.
“That putt went in and then on 17. I couldn’t believe it when I missed the green and we had one stroke of the lead. It took a lot of effort to calm down and change the way you think.”
Morikawa admitted to reporters that he felt “sad” after the game ended.
“Sadness. I don’t know. It sucks. You work so hard and give yourself these opportunities and just bad timing on bad shots and it really adds up quickly,” he said.
“I don’t know what I’m going to learn this week, but it just didn’t feel that far away. It really wasn’t. Yes, it sucks.
He was also asked if Sunday’s result was a highlight or a low point in his professional career.
“From my career so far? I would say yes, he replied.
“I can not think about anything else. Yes, it’s hard to look at the positives, really.
The California product, however, said the result could not be compared to the global challenge in December 2021.
“The hero is different. The hero started badly, never found him, never felt good, just bad. I felt fine today. I just made three bad swings at really bad times. There’s never a good time for a bad attempt, but sometimes it works, and it never worked.”