Jon Rahm resumes his debut in the PGA Championship

The one from Barrika went up to +4 but finished at -1, eight shots behind the leader Schauffele

Good start from Otaegui and David Puig


The Spanish golfer Jon Rahm went from less to more in his debut in the PGA Championship, second ‘major’ of the season, to close on Thursday with positive feelings at a demanding Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville (Kentucky, United States), with good marks also for Adrián Otaegui and David Puig.

Rahm, a two-time Grand Slam champion, started cold but found a reaction on the second nine to record four birdies in the last six holes. The one from Barrika worked with the ‘putt’ and avoided the problems of going off the fairway, after a complicated start with +4 on the sixth hole.

The Basque’s trump card was in danger with that weak staging and a well-defended Valhalla, especially due to its wild rough. A ‘birdie’ on seven and a high-level second round, despite the error on 11 and throwing the club on 16, left Rahm in a position to fight for the tournament, as he could not in the Masters.

The first leader of the PGA 2024 was left by the morning shift, a Xander Schauffele who burst in resoundingly with 62 strokes, -9, to try to end his jinx in the majors after 11 ‘Top 10’, the last one a month ago in Augusta. As for the rest of the Spaniards, Adrián Otaegui and David Puig also saved the premiere with flying colors.

The Basque, champion last week of the Volvo China Open, finished on Thursday at -1, while Puig, in his second ‘major’, also demonstrated the level of his season, champion in February in Malaysia, and finished at even par Valhalla. Thus, the three Spaniards in the running are in a position to make the cut and reach the weekend.

Leader Schauffele is followed by fellow Americans Tony Finau and Sahith Theegala, with -6, while Rory McIlroy is fourth with -5. The Northern Irishman, winner at Wells Fargo last Sunday and twice at the PGA Championship, demonstrated his fitness to be a clear candidate for victory. Meanwhile, world number one Scottie Scheffler finished at -4.

The American did not have his best day with the ‘putt’ and that is why he did not finish leader on the first day. The Texan, back in the ring after becoming a father, started the tournament with an ‘eagle’, a high bar even for the winner of the Masters and three other tournaments in 2024. An irregular return with which, even so, he did not fail the pools .

On the other hand, the American Tiger Woods, tested physically to the maximum demands after competing in Augusta, finished with 72 strokes, a correct start but one that will have to improve to make the cut. The ‘Tiger’, 2000 PGA champion in Valhalla itself, left a debut of ups and downs, looking ahead to a Friday that, after today’s fog, points to rainy.