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Rahm grabs lead but Leishman in touch at Dell Technologies

Rahm continues his meteoric rise. (Photo: Bruce Young)
Spain’s rising superstar Jon Rahm has the halfway lead at the Dell Technologies Championship at the TPC Boston in Norton in Massachusetts, a second round of 66 moving him two clear of Canadian Adam Hadwin, England’s Paul Casey and Americans Kevin Streelman and Kyle Stanley.

22 year old Rahm, a professional for just 15 months, has already moved to number 5 in the world ranking after beginning the year well outside the top 100 and he is currently projected in number 2 position on the FedEx Cup points table.

For Rahm, it was a round of golf of two halves in every sense of the term, recovering from being two over through 7 holes with an eagle at his 9th hole of the day (he started at the 10th) and then a back nine of 31 to sweep into the lead.

“Man, it felt like very different, that front nine and back nine, it was a big difference,” said Rahm “You know, I don't know what to say. I played a nearly perfect back nine. Felt like I didn't miss a shot. I felt I putted for birdie pretty much from every hole from a really close distance. Nothing to say about that one.

“But that front nine is the one that probably looked worse than what it felt. Felt like I was making great swings. You know, they were going on line, hitting the shots that I wanted.

“Even though it looked bad, I was making good swings. I kept a positive attitude, and you know, on 18, I don't know what happened, hit a good shot, made the putt and everything just happened.”

Rahm is playing the event for the first occasion and is really enjoying the venue which he is also playing for the very first time this week.

“It does fit my eye. I mean, I think it's a great golf course. After what we played last week with the rough we had last week, anything seems simple. I really think it's a really good golf course. You can tell it's a ball-striker's course because on every green, there's little sections for the pin to be at, right. It can be a big green, but there's little sections for the pin to be at, right. It can be a big green, but there's little sections you can hit it at.

"So being precise off the fairway, it's going to give you some close birdie putts, which luckily for me has been happening.It does fit my eye. You know, it's something I feel comfortable on, and I feel like I've adapted to it pretty good. So you know, hopefully I can keep playing the way I feel about it.”

Canadian Hadwin currently sits in last place amongst those trying to automatically qualify for the Presidents Cup International side so a continuation of this form will guarantee him a place in the side in a month’s time.

Stanley is on the outside looking in as far as the US side is concerned so he too will be keen to impress his captain Steve Stricker over the next two days.

Casey has been in great form this season but he has only one career win on the US Tour and that was in Houston eight years ago. His form is so consistent in 2017 however that he might yet back his way into a victory before too long. Having finished runner-up in the event last year Casey is well placed to go one better this week.

Marc Leishman heads the Australians despite losing ground with a second round of 69 to be tied for 6th, a position he shares with Phil Mickelson.

Leishman recovered from an outward nine of 37 with four birdies on his homeward nine and is just three from Rahm's lead. 

Mickelson is likely to get a captain’s pick for the US Presidents Cup side either way but he may well have made the choice easier by moving into a share of 6th this week with a round of 67 today.

Mickelson was asked about his chances of captain Stricker including him in the team.

“Well, he needs to do what's best for the team. He needs to get the best guys on the team. These are fun events but they are also important and we want to win, and as a captain, it's his job, responsibility, to make the tough decisions and do what's in the best interests of the team and I support that either way.

“I would love to be the one he felt added to the team but if I'm not, he's got to make that tough call. I totally understand it. I've had a tough time for a while. But these two rounds, although they have been great, I don't know if that's enough or not. Let's see how the weekend goes and we'll go from there.”

Australians other than Leishman have not fared so well with Jason Day recovering from a horror round yesterday to make the cut but he is in 57th position at 2 over and 11 shots from the lead.

Rod Pampling also made the cut but he is a shot behind Day.

Adam Scott missed the cut after what had been a reasonable start yesterday and is now out of the FedEx Cup Playoffs having slipped well outside the top 70 who will advance to the BMW Championship. The next time we get to see him will be at the Presidents Cup in one month’s time.

Cameron Smith missed by four shots but because of his standing will make it to the penultimate FedEx Cup Playoff event courtesy of the points he accumulated through his win at the Zurich Classic as he is still inside the top 70 who will play in Illinois.








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