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How Jon Rahm stopped his negative momentum Friday in Mexico

Jon Rahm called it a “negative momentum stopper.”

Poor iron shot.

Even poorer chip.

But Rahm salvaged birdied on the closing par-5 at Vidanta by holing a 12-footer.

“To make the putt was important,” said Rahm, who shot 3-under 68 Friday to remain in contention through two rounds of his title defense at the Mexico Open. “I’ve been rolling it good all two days so far. To have the exclamation point on the end was good.”

Full-field scores from the Mexico Open at Vidanta

Rahm lamented “two to three swings that were bad,” unforced errors that led to a double bogey at the par-3 ninth (after a water ball off the tee), and bogeys at Nos. 10 and 16. One could argue that the dropped shots were forced, as winds picked up around the time Rahm reached the ninth hole.

But even in tougher conditions, Rahm birdied four of his last eight holes.

“I think I did a good job on those final eight holes after I made a mistake to still make some birdies and stay aggressive,” Rahm said, “because you have generous fairways, generous greens, they’re not as firm and fast as they could be so you can still be aggressive and make some birdies, but this golf course requires quite a bit of precision with the irons. I was able to do that for the most part.”

Rahm, who is playing for the second time in three weeks since winning the Masters, will skip next week’s designated event at Quail Hollow. If he wants to ensure he remains world No. 1 after the Wells Fargo, Rahm needs a top-5 finish come Sunday in Mexico.

He’s currently T-12 – and with a little less negative momentum as he enters the weekend.

“I don’t think I’m playing bad,” Rahm said. “I think I’ve given away a couple more shots to some of the leaders, and that’s why I’m quite a bit away.”