2021 Northern Trust ranking, scores: Jon Rahm, Cameron Smith’s co-leader before Round 4 moved to Monday
Jon Rahm finally got caught on Saturday in the 2021 Northern Trust third round at Liberty National, but it took a great lap to make it. Rahm (-16) shares the 54-hole lead in the first round of the FedEx Cup playoffs with Cam Smith (-16) after the latter shot a course record of 60 and putt on the last hole for what would have been the first 59 of the year (more details below).
Playing a few hours after Smith, Rahm made his first big mistakes of the tournament but still shot 67 and is hanging on to this co-leader before a few bizarre final days at Liberty National. Sunday will actually be a day off as the final round collided with Monday due to the likely arrival of Hurricane Henri in the area on Sunday. This will give players a day to regroup before pushing towards the finish line in this event, but it also brings into play the potential for a shortened 54-hole event, in which case Rahm and Smith might take part in the event. one playoff at one point at the start of the next. the week.
There are a lot of variables at play here, including an unpredictable hurricane. Fittingly, it was the tumultuous Rahm who held this event from start to finish as he tries to secure what would be his second win of the season and second FedEx Cup Playoffs victory in the past two years. .
T1. Jon Rahm, Cam Smith (-16): Smith was spectacular and broke a course record that had been set five times in the past two days. He’s won more than seven field strokes from tee to green, and understand it, has lost a stroke and a half with his putter in the last 13 holes. That’s how pure he hit him. He gave himself 13 (!!) looks on birdie from 13 feet or closer on the day. Thirteen! That’s how you shoot 60 while having a nice pedestrian day with the putter. Smith has been formidable lately with the top 10 at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as well as at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational a few weeks ago, but he will face the hottest player on the planet on Monday.
In his last six events, Rahm has faced 868 golfers. He has beaten, equaled (or is in the process of beating or equaling) 853 of them (over 98%). It’s amazing. After 48 consecutive holes without a bogey, Rahm finally got a flaw on his card when a ‘flushed’ iron shot (his words) in the 13th par-5 failed in the water and he doubled up. A bogey at No.16 was sandwiched by two birdies, and he said he played all day like the last 18 holes were wiped out and he was trying to lead at the end of the round. He had a chance. He missed a 12-footer for a birdie that would have given him a 66 and the absolute lead to 17 under.
What marked Rahm’s week was how… it seemed… normal. He wins one stroke per round with his putter, which is good but not spectacular. He loses shots around the greens. And he compares pretty much everything he watches. It is kind of what it is. In the last 20 laps measured before this week, Rahm was gaining 3.03 strokes per lap from tee to green. This week he wins 2.83 which means he’s actually playing worse this week than he did in his last handful of tournaments. It’s terrifying, and that’s why he’s a +138 favorite to win on Monday.
3. Erik van Rooyen (-15): Van Rooyen was one of those five who shot 62 in the past few days, and his came on the back of an outrageously hot putter on Saturday. It would be surprising if this continued on Sunday, and he knocked down Rahm on the last 36 holes. However, van Rooyen has a lot to play outside of winning this event. He started this week outside the top 70 of the FedEx Cup standings – meaning he wouldn’t qualify for the BMW Championship next week – but he made his way into the top 25 such as he’s showing up now, which would be huge for the rest of the playoffs and his attempt to qualify for the Tour Championship (the top 30 ahead after next week’s BMW).
T4. Justin Thomas, Tony Finau (-14): Finau lost more shots than anyone in the top 10 on Saturday. In fact, he hit better than Rahm and scored a little worse because he only putt over 5 feet (which is amazing!). JT had a strange comeback nine in which he built up a ton of momentum early on with three birdies in his first four holes before a double bogey blocked his roll. He’s finished with two birdies in his last three, and could be Rahm’s biggest threat in the final round given how well he hits his irons this week.
T6. Shane Lowry, Viktor Hovland, Tom Hoge (-13): Hovland has pretty much locked his place on the Ryder Cup squad already, but Lowry – who has had a great summer – retains the last automatic qualifying spot on the European side. A nice finish here on Monday seems to consolidate him for his first Ryder Cup, which would be pretty awesome. He rinsed it off too. He leads this loaded field in wins on approach shots and has entered everyone’s week fourth in his last 20 laps.