Jon Rahm’s start to the U.S. Open didn’t exactly go as planned.
The defending champion’s ball was nabbed on the 18th hole by two kids, who then ran off with it during the opening round of the tournament at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. The 27-year-old Spaniard took it in stride, though.
“I am 100 percent sure I saw the two kids that stole it,” he said, laughing. “Somebody — I’m pretty sure I know who it was. I recognized the two kids that were running the opposite way with a smile on their face.”
Rahm was given a free drop on the hole and hit his second shot to 21 feet before making the putt for birdie.
“I’m just really happy somebody spotted the ball first,” Rahm told reporters. “We knew exactly where it was. Off the tee I was comfortable. I was past all the trees. … After the free relief, I had 135 yards to the pin, in an area where the rough wasn’t that thick. I don’t think they expected anybody to hit it there or be around there, so I was able to drop it in an area that was a little downgrain, and I wasn’t in jeopardy of carrying the bunker. That wasn’t really a concern.”
Rahm, who is looking to go back-to-back after winning last year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, finished the first day of the championship with a 1-under 69 and was just two strokes off the early lead.
“It’s just more of a thank-God-I-made-a-putt-type deal,” Rahm said. “I feel like I played pretty good golf all day. I just saw a lot of them get close and not go in, and to hit two wayward drives in the last two holes and somehow end up with two birdie putts and making the last one — it’s more the fact of making putt to break par on the first round of the U.S. Open. It’s quite a big deal.”