NORTON — Jon Rahm admits he's surprised how far he has come in such a short amount of time.
"I was for a while," the 22-year-old Spaniard admitted after shooting a 5-under 66 Saturday to take a two-shot lead at 9-under 133 after two rounds of the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston. "I'm not going to lie."
Rahm didn't turn pro until after he finished as low amateur in the 2016 U.S. Open. Less than 15 months later, he's ranked No. 5 in the world.
Rahm sank a 60-foot eagle putt on the final hole of the Farmers Insurance Open in January to earn his first PGA Tour victory, and he picked up his first European Tour win at the Irish Open in July.
Rahm has also had his troubles. After tying for second in the Dean & Deluca Invitational in May, he missed the cut at the Memorial and U.S. Open. After winning the Irish Open, he tied for 44th in the British Open, tied for 28th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and tied for 58th at the PGA Championship before finding his game last week and sharing third in the first round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs at The Northern Trust.
Rahm said there was a good reason for his slump.
"It's probably because," he said, "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."
Rahm's runner-up finish in the Dean & Deluca jumped him into the top-10 world rankings.
"It made me complacent of what I had accomplished all year," he admitted. "I didn't play with the same intensity. I really didn't have a goal."
But now he does.
"I think we all have the same goal in the next few weeks, which is the FedEx Cup," he said.
Adam Hadwin (65), Paul Casey (65), Kevin Streelman (65) Kyle Stanley (68) share second place at 7-under 135. First-round leader Dustin Johnson shot a 1-over 72 to drop into a tie for 15th at 4 under
Rahm entered this week ranked No. 5 in FedEx Cup Playoffs points. He could move into first if he wins at TPC Boston, depending on how the four golfers who rank above him fare.
Starting on the 10th hole, Rahm was 2 over through eight holes in large part because of a double bogey on the par-3 eighth. Then he eagled 18 and birdied five holes on his second nine.
For the eagle, Rahm cleared the bunkers with a 3-wood, leaving him on an up-slope 200 yards to the green.
"I could not have had a better lie to attack that pin," he said.
He aimed his high fade about 30 feet left of the pin, and his ball stopped 12 feet from the cup.
Rahm had never played TPC Boston before this week.
"It does fit my eye," he said. "I think it's a great golf course. After what he played last week with the rough we had last week, anything seems simple."
Johnson birdied his first two holes to get to 8 under, but struggled thereafter and double-bogeyed the 10th and 15th holes. He declined to speak to the media after his round on Saturday.
Jordan Spieth bounced back from his disappointing first-round of 1-over 72 to shoot a 6-under 65 to move into a tie for 10th at 5 under. Spieth birdied three of his last four holes.
"I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed (Friday)," Spieth said. "I woke up, I got out here, and I was cranky. I don't know. I guess we all just kind of have days like that."
The threesome of Spieth, Johnson and Justin Thomas (71-67-138) drew a large and loud gallery.
"They were definitely drunk out there," Spieth said. "It felt different that a golf tournament. ... There were guys yelling at me, 'Spieth, JT's better. Spieth, JT's better.' You just never really hear that. Normally, in a golf crowd, if you like somebody better than someone else, they just root for them, not actually tell you how they feel about you. But it's sports."
Hadwin is trying to hold on to the 10th and final guaranteed spot in the International Presidents Cup standings. That goal is not exactly in the back of his mind.
"If there was an area in front of the frontal lobe," he said, "I would say that. I'm being reminded daily of where I am, what I need to do."
Casey led after three rounds last year and finished second to Rory McIlroy.
"I feel like some unfinished business around this place," Casey said, "after last year."
McIlroy (72-74) missed the cut by two shots.
Because of the forecast for rain on Sunday morning, the third round will begin later. Threesomes will begin on the first and 10th tees from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Gates will open at 9:30 a.m.
This article is written by Bill Doyle from Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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