Jon Rahm storms back to win Sentry Tournament of Champions as Collin Morikawa collapses

Jon Rahm of Spain celebrates after making his putt for birdie on the 18th green during the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club on January 08, 2023 in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Jon Rahm was down nine shots after the first hole Sunday.

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Sunday was supposed to be the return of Collin Morikawa after he went into the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions with a six-stroke lead.

Through nine holes that looked to be the case as Morikawa still led by that margin.

But then Jon Rahm entered the picture.

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Rahm made three birdies and eagle in a four-hole stretch on the back nine and Morikawa made his first three bogeys of the entire week on holes 14 through 16. The eight-shot swing help Rahm come from seven behind to win the Tournament of Champions at 27 under by two shots.

It’s just the ninth time in Tour history a 54-hole leader was up by six strokes or more and did not win. The last time was just a few months ago at the Tour Championship. It’s also the first time a lead bigger than three shots was blown at Kapalua.

Rahm was down as many as nine strokes during the final round after he bogeyed the opening hole and Morikawa birdied it two groups later. He then made nine birdies and the eagle at the par-5 15th to complete the comeback. His final-round 10 under 63 tied for the lowest round of the week.

Morikawa still looked to be in control as he was still bogey-free on the week with a three-stroke lead on the tee at the drivable par-4 14th. He made bogey there while Rahm’s eagle putt dropped a hole ahead and the lead was gone. He bogeyed the next two — the three hole stretch being one of the easiest on the course — and a birdie at the 18th was too little, too late.

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Morikawa is still winless since his triumph at the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St. Georges. He held a 54-hole lead at the 2021 Hero World Challenge, but faded quickly with a front nine 41.

This time, Morikawa went out in 33 and was at the 27 under number which proved to be the winning score, but his run of bogies doomed him to his second runner-up finish since his last win. He finished with a one under 72 to finish solo runner-up.

Rahm meanwhile becomes the first champion of one of the PGA Tour’s new designated events and gets his first PGA Tour win since last year’s Mexico Open. He did win more recently this fall on the DP World Tour, winning the Open de Espana and the DP World Tour Championship.

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