He made no secret of that fact, either, in endorsing the confidence which has been justified by such a successful baptism in the professional game. Sometimes it gets going pretty good.

Rahm faces a semifinal match this morning against Bill Haas, who ended Phil Mickelson’s hopes with a 2-and-1 victory.

Rahm’s bogeys at the third and fourth saw Johnson take a quick lead, which the American built on with birdies to win the fifth and sixth holes before another bogey from a clearly frustrated Rahm at the eighth saw Johnson go 5 up. In a shocking swing, Tanihara ran it 6 feet by and three-putted for par, and Johnson pitched to 8 feet and won the hole with a birdie.

With a par on No. 18, Johnson earned a 1-up victory.

“Being No. 1, it kind of drives me to work harder and to get better”.

It’s just getting harder to find a candidate to stop him.

A closing five-under 66 secured a top-10 finish for Philip McLean in the Pro Golf Tour’s Ocean Open in Morocco.

Jason Day ” s tear through the fall of 2015 and spring of “16 is a fair comparison when the Australian won seven times in 17 starts (41 percent) including a major, WGC and The Players.

No wonder that when Hideto Tanihara was asked for his strategy in his semifinal match against Johnson, he said through his translator, “He looks unbeatable”.

“I’m excited to go back when the game is in good form and I feel like everything is working pretty well”, said Johnson.

The Johnson bandwagon rolls south to the Shell Houston Open this week, where he is bidding to become the first player since Woods a decade ago to win four consecutive tournaments. Rahm said. “If his putter had been hot, I wouldn’t have had a chance, no question”. An example is how he played the thirteenth hole in this finals match, when he was three down to Johnson.

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After Johnson stuck to his game plan and laid up off the tee with an iron, Rahm hit a remarkably courageous shot, smashing driver straight at the flag across the water and dropping the ball some 20 feet behind the hole. Las Vegas now has Johnson listed as the overwhelming Masters favorite at 5-to-1 odds. He jumped from 26th to 14th when the world rankings were updated yesterday.

Rahm’s biggest moment on Sunday came at the par-5 16th hole. “I’m anxious to see how I’ll fare (against top-level golfers)”, he said in reference to his second Masters appearance and first since 2007.

“After everything that I’ve been through in the majors – I’ve knocked on the door a bunch of times – to finally get that major win, it’s huge”, he said at Oakmont. He led the field at the Match Play with 554 feet of putts made and converted every time he had to make a putt, like in his final four match against Tanihara when he rolled in clutch putts at Nos.

It followed the 21-year-old from Blairgowrie climbing up 10 spots on the final day after a closing 68 at Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi.

“If I’m playing my best, yeah, I’ll (beat) anybody, anytime”, he declared. “I’m not going to win them all, but I’m certainly giving myself opportunities”. After playing 112 holes in five days on his way to recording his third title in succession, it was probably a wise move on the 32-year-old’s behalf as he concentrates on winning his first green jacket. He won the Nicklaus (player of the year), Palmer (money list) and Nelson (scoring average) awards on the PGA Tour in 2016 in what he called his “dream season”.

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