Golf

PGA: Jon Rahm builds a 2-shot lead at halfway point in Boston

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PGA: Jon Rahm builds a 2-shot lead at halfway point in Boston

NORTON, Mass. - Jon Rahm accomplished so much so quickly that he began to wonder what else was left for him to achieve in his first full year on the PGA Tour.

He now has 10 million reasons to play his best golf.

Already very much in the hunt for the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus, Rahm took another step Saturday when he made an eagle and five birdies over his last 10 holes for a 5-under 66 and a two-shot lead at the halfway point of the Dell Technologies Championship.

Rahm already has a short history of strong finishes in his first trip to the TPC Boston.

One day after he birdied four of his last five holes, he made a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th and then shot 31 on the front nine to reach 9-under 133.

No one could catch him in the afternoon, least of all Dustin Johnson.

Johnson, the world's No. 1 player who had a one-shot lead going into the second round, had a pair of double bogeys after a quick start and needed a birdie on the 18th hole to keep from falling further behind. Johnson shot a 72 and was five shots behind.

It's already been an amazing year for Rahm. The 22-year-old Spaniard was No. 137 at the start of the year. Now he's at No. 5. His two main goals were to get to East Lake for the Tour Championship and win a tournament.

Check. Check.

But after a runner-up at Colonial, he has missed the cut twice and finished out of the top 25 in three other PGA Tour starts.

"It's probably because I got to the point where I had accomplished so much more than I had set myself to in the beginning of the year that I felt like there was nothing else to do," he said. "It made me complacent of what I had accomplished all year. I didn't play with the same intensity. I really didn't have a goal.

"It's taken me two months to realize what I've done, and hopefully I can keep surprising myself."

Paul Casey, who played in the final group last year until Rory McIlroy ran him down, had a 65 and was two shots off the lead along with Adam Hadwin (65), Kevin Streelman (65) and Kyle Stanley (68). Streelman is at No. 90 in the FedEx Cup, and only the top 70 after the Labor Day finish advance to the third playoff event in two weeks outside Chicago.

Rahm was only part of a cool, calm day that left a large crowd entertained, and at times surprised.

Lucas Glover (No. 16) and Grayson Murray (No. 8) each made a hole-in-one that the PGA Tour estimated were 65 seconds apart. Phil Mickelson dropped only one shot on his way to a 67. He was just three shots off the lead at 6-under 136, his best 36-hole score since the FedEx St. Jude Classic in June. Jordan Spieth also turned around his fortunes. Despite missing a pair of birdies inside 7 feet, Spieth still shot a 65 and was in the group four shots behind.

Spieth attributed his slow start in the opening round Friday to waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

"For me, it was just a matter of just stop being cranky," Spieth said. "I don't know what to tell you. I was getting more mad at bad breaks than you should. It was a bad day at the office yesterday and a really good one today. I'm going to need two really good ones again. But to be within four shots after yesterday's round is a tremendous accomplishment."

McIlroy, meanwhile, was headed home after missing the cut as the defending champion for only the second time in his career. McIlroy also missed the cut as defending champion in the 2012 U.S. Open.

McIlroy will still advance to the BMW Championship, though he will need a top finish to get to East Lake for the Tour Championship.

That's no longer a concern for Rahm. He is No. 5 in the FedEx Cup, already assured of going the distance. He won at Torrey Pines in January. He even won his first European Tour title at the Irish Open.

And he now has a very clear goal over the next few weeks.

"I think we all have the same goal in the next few weeks, which is the FedEx Cup," he said with a smile.

He still has a long way ahead of him at the TPC Boston. Twenty players were within five shots of the lead with two rounds to go, and players were bracing for a Sunday of wet weather. The tee times were moved back and will be played in threesomes because of the forecast.

The cut was at 3-over 145, which spared the likes of Bubba Watson, who is at No. 72 in the standings. Watson missed a 3-foot par putt on the par-5 18th hole and figured he would miss the cut until Patrick Rodgers hit into the junk on the 18th hole, had to take a penalty drop and made bogey.

Adam Scott wasn't so fortunate. He came up short of the 18th with a sand wedge and missed a 6-foot par putt, giving him a 75. He wound up missing the cut by one shot after flying in from Australia to try to extend his season.

PGA: Justin Thomas wins Boston for fifth title of the season

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PGA: Justin Thomas wins Boston for fifth title of the season

NORTON, Mass. -- The victories keep piling up for Justin Thomas, and all that does is make him want more.

In a Labor Day finish that was harder than the final margin suggested, Thomas kept his patience when Jordan Spieth shot out to a brief lead and Marc Leishman built a two-shot lead at the turn. Keeping his mistakes to a minimum, Thomas outlasted them both by closing with a 5-under 66 for a three-shot victory in the Dell Technologies Championship.

He started the PGA Tour season at No. 34 in the world with all of one PGA Tour victory.

Thomas won for the fifth time Monday, including his first major three weeks ago at the PGA Championship. He is No. 4 in the world. And barring Spieth running the tables the rest of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the 24-year-old Thomas would seem to be a lock to be voted PGA Tour player of the year.

"I have two events left. I have two more opportunities to win," Thomas said. "And I'd love to make it six or seven wins."

Thomas made only two bogeys all week, the last one putting him in a three-way tie with seven holes to play. He won on the back nine at TPC Boston with a sand wedge he gouged out of the rough to 6 feet on No. 13, a gap wedge to 4 feet on No. 15 for another birdie, and a 6-foot par save that kept him two shots clear.

Spieth wasted a start that riled up the New England crowd - birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie - by missing the 14th green with a 5-iron for bogey. Needing an eagle to stay in the game on the par-5 18th, Spieth pushed a 4-iron into a tough lie in the bunker, blasted over the green and made bogey for a 67.

Spieth was runner-up for the second straight week in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He lost a three-shot lead to Dustin Johnson on Long Island. There wasn't much he could have done to stop Thomas, his best friend in golf since they were teenagers.

"Came out firing, like I said we had to do," Spieth said. "Eight through 14 is the meat of the golf course. You want to get through even. I got through over par and didn't get any coming in when I hit some good putts."

Spieth still moved to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup with one more event before the $10 million prize is decided at the Tour Championship.

Leishman shot 30 on the front to build a two-shot lead, only for it to vanish quickly. He had to save bogey on No. 10 after an errant drive. He three-putted from long range for bogey on the 11th. He found a bunker on the 12th for a third straight bogey. And then he closed with two bogeys that only cost him money. Leishman shot 70.

Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world coming off his fourth victory of the season last week, started the final round three shots behind and was one of the few players who was never in contention. He took two to get out of a fairway bunker and made bogey on the par-5 second hole, and he closed with a 73 to finish 10 behind.

Spieth was simply dynamic at the start. He didn't need to make a putt longer than 12 feet to go 5 under for the opening four holes and briefly take the lead. Leishman, who won at Bay Hill in March, kept stride with six birdies on the front nine to match Spieth's 30 and move in front.

Thomas did his part to stay in the game.

He could hear the crowd celebrating Spieth's short birdie on the fourth hole, and then Thomas belted a low slider of a drive that barely cleared the deep bunker, hit into the shaggy collar and hopped onto the fringe. He holed that 30-footer for an eagle, and the race was on.

Phil Mickelson birdied three of his opening four holes. He couldn't keep pace. Neither could Jon Rahm or Paul Casey.

The final round was so tight that Thomas, Spieth and Leishman were tied for the lead with seven holes to play. But then it all changed when Spieth missed the green at No. 14, did well to hit a flop shot to 15 feet and narrowly missed his par putt.

Thomas steadied himself after his lone bogey on the par-3 11th. Equipped with a one-shot lead because of Spieth's bogey, Thomas hit a sand wedge to 4 feet on the 15th for a birdie and a two-shot lead. Equally important was his pitch out of deep rough to the right of the 16th to a green that ran away from him. He managed to hit it 6 feet and twice clutched his fist when it dropped for par.

Spieth grazed the edge of the cup with a 10-foot birdie attempt on the 17th, and then lost all hope with his approach into the bunker.

It was the first time Spieth has finished runner-up to Thomas, his best friend in golf since they were teenagers.

Kevin Chappell bogeyed his last hole and still managed to nudge Charley Hoffman by a fraction of a point to earn the 10th and final automatic spot on the U.S. team for the Presidents Cup.

Stewart Cink closed with a 68 to finish 12th, more than enough for him to advance to the third FedEx Cup playoff event outside Chicago for the first time in seven years. Emiliano Grillo and Rafa Cabrera Bello also moved into the top 70 to advance to the BMW Championship in two weeks.

PGA: Thomas fires off a 63, shares lead with Leishman in Boston

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PGA: Thomas fires off a 63, shares lead with Leishman in Boston

NORTON, Mass. - PGA champion Justin Thomas made three long birdies on a long, wet TPC Boston for a tournament-best 63, giving him a share of the lead with Marc Leishman going into a Labor Day finish in the Dell Technologies Championship.

Leishman also played bogey-free Sunday and had three straight birdies on the back nine for a 65.

They were at 12-under 201 with no room for error on a leaderboard that was packed with some of golf's best players.

Paul Casey, who played in the final group last year at TPC Boston, shot 67 and was one shot behind. Jordan Spieth birdied his last two holes and was among those two shots back.

Not to be forgotten was Dustin Johnson, who birdied four of his last five holes and was three behind.