February 19, 2023

Rahm roars into the lead 

Jon Rahm has been knocking on the door ever since he first teed it up at The Genesis Invitational four years ago, and the world’s third-ranked player has put himself in solid position to walk away from Riviera Country Club with the trophy. He’ll have to hold off two Southern California natives, however, as the stage is set for a Sunday filled with Hollywood drama.  

Rahm shot a bogey-free 6-under-par 65 Saturday and sits alone atop the leaderboard at 15-under. He’ll rest on a three-shot lead over Valencia native and 2021 tournament champion Max Homa. One stroke back is Keith Mitchell, while Patrick Cantlay – a Long Beach native and UCLA product – is fourth at 10-under par.  

Since his Riviera debut in 2019, Rahm has four top-25 results in as many starts. This season, he has finished top-10 in all five events he has played, and the 28-year-old is in position for his third victory since the calendar flipped to 2023. Rahm’s short game was dialed in Saturday, and he drained a 23-foot, 7-inch putt on the 18th to provide a jolt of momentum to take him into the final round. 

“Well, I can make an argument about any event that I play in about being able to check something off, but the fact that Tiger is the host, the fact that he’s out here playing and the history of this golf course as a venue is two reasons why I would love to be able to win here,” Rahm said. “It’s a very select group of champions and you’d join. It would be an honor.” 

Tournament host Tiger Woods posted a four-under-par 67 and enters Sunday tied for 26th. He carded two birdies on his opening nine, then super charged his round with an eagle on the first hole, hitting his 191-yard approach shot to three feet for an easy tap-in.