2022 U.S. Open: Jon Rahm birdies 18th hole after fan stole his ball


BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Jon Rahm had a strong finish to Thursday's first round of the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club, but it didn't come without an unexpected twist.

Rahm's tee shot on the Par-4 18th hole veered far left over near one of the NBC broadcast positions.

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What happened next was crazy, to say the least.

According to Rahm, two kids went up to his ball and one of them took it, then they both ran away. Rahm was forced to drop from that area without penalty, leaving him about 135 yards to the green for his second shot. He hit the green and was able to make a 21-foot birdie putt to finish 1-under par for the day.

(His shots on the 18th hole begin at the 9:57 mark of the video below)

"I'm pretty sure I know who it was. I recognized the two kids who were running the opposite way with a smile on their face. I am 100 percent sure I saw the two kids who stole it," Rahm said in his post-round press conference.

"I was just really happy that somebody spotted the ball first. We knew exactly where it was. Off the tee, I was comfortable. I was past all the trees. It was downwind and that's why -- I wasn't trying to go that far left, but I was trying to take it over the trees and over the bunkers.


"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. I wasn't in jeopardy of carrying the bunker. That wasn't really a concern."

When asked what age the kids appeared to be, Rahm said "definitely teenagers". 

Rahm was 2-under through eight holes and then made two bogeys and one birdie the rest of the way. It wasn't his best round, but to finish 1-under on a day with plenty of wind at an already challenging course isn't too bad at all. Rahm described the course as "very hard."

The reigning U.S. Open champion will tee off at 1:07 p.m. ET for Friday's second round alongside Collin Morikawa (1-under) and amateur James Piot (1-under). 


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