Jon Rahm shot a 4-under 68 and outlasted rookie Davis Thompson down the final stretch to win The American Express on Sunday in La Quinta, Calif.
The Spanish star captured his second title in his past two starts, following his victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago.
Rahm entered the day at the PGA West Stadium Course tied for the lead with Thompson. He moved ahead to 27 under when he birdied the par-5 16th hole and Thompson parred.
At the par-3 17th, Thompson had a chance to tie Rahm with a 48-foot putt across the island green, but he chose to keep the pin in the cup and his ball glanced off the pin rather than dropping for birdie.
Rahm then hit his tee shot at No. 18 into a bunker right of the fairway. But Thompson’s approach to the green rolled off the back edge, while Rahm’s shot from the sand landed just 14 feet from the hole.
Thompson just missed a chip-in birdie, allowing Rahm to two-putt for par to sign for a 261 and win the event.
“Had I had the same putting I had yesterday or Friday it probably would’ve been a runaway victory, but can’t ask for everything,” Rahm said. “You learn in every single situation, and today was definitely a stressful day.”
Thompson, in his 20th PGA Tour start, shot a 69 and settled for solo second at 26 under, his best career finish.
“I usually always leave the stick in from a long distance,” Thompson said of the putt at No. 17. “I feel like it helps me with my speed. I’ll probably play the ‘what if’ game in my head for a long time, unfortunately.
“I had a great read. I probably hit it too firm. If it had great speed, it would have just hit the flag and dropped. But we’ll never know. I’m proud of myself for this week.”
Rahm was impressed by his chief competitor of the weekend.
“Got a little lucky that Davis’ putt didn’t go in on 17 and a little fortunate that his ball just got over the green on 18,” he said. “What a heck of a player he is. He’s doing all the right things and wouldn’t be surprised if he wins soon, because he gave me a real battle today and it was a lot of fun. I’m sure there’ll be many to come.”
Earlier in the day, Xander Schauffele holed out for an albatross on his way to a 10-under 62, tied for the low round of the day. Schauffele tied for third at 25 under with Chris Kirk (64 Sunday).
Schauffele’s 225-yard second shot at the par-5 fifth hole carried the water and bounced just in front of the green, rolled on and straight into the cup. He went on to add seven birdies without a bogey.
“I was off a pretty good upslope, so I just tried to hit a 4-iron pretty much at it and have it turn toward the center wanting to get maximum distance,” Schauffele said. “Kind of played it out to the right. Hit it really solid. Didn’t say anything (while the ball was) in the air because I was a little bit worried. So it was nice when I saw it hit on ground and then I actually saw it go in. So that was pretty special.”
–Field Level Media