CARNOUSTIE, Scotland, July 20 (Reuters) - Jon Rahm found a fairway with his drive at the seventh hole at the British Open on Friday.
Unfortunately for the Spaniard, it was a fairway at the adjacent Buddon Links, on the other side of the out-of-bounds fence that separates Carnoustie from the neighbouring course.
“That’s out,” Rahm cried while his drive was still in the air. The ball started left and stayed left, never a chance to stay on the property.
It landed about 10 yards out-of-bounds according to a marshal who watched the ball sail over his head and over the large gallery, before being snaffled by a lucky fan.
“I hadn’t missed a driver left all week, and with the wind left-to-right I never expected the ball to go that straight,” Rahm told reporters. “Just a bad shot.”
That one bad swing all but signalled the end of Rahm’s chances, another major of unfulfilled promise by a player some consider the most talented in the world.
The ensuing triple-bogey sent the 23-year-old storming to the next tee as he battled to keep his famously volatile temper from erupting.
Rahm subsequently buried his tee shot at the par-three ninth in a bunker and with it ended any lingering hope he could right a sinking ship.
A bogey followed and more carnage unfolded with a double-bogey at the next, where his temper finally snapped and he hurled a club in anger after another bad shot.
Another double at the 16th snuffed out any hope of advancing and a round of seven-over-par 78 out him at five-over 147, two shots short of playing on the weekend.
Since turning professional two years ago, Rahm has only one top-25 in eight majors, a tie for fourth at the U.S. Masters in April.
“It’s just sad. What stings more is missing the cut the last two majors knowing how good I played at Augusta,” he said.
“I’m still pretty young. Hopefully, I’m going to be play a lot of major championships.”
It had all started so promisingly for Rahm, who birdied the first and third holes, with a bogey at the second wedged in between.
The afternoon gallery built to a sizeable number to watch Rahm and American Rickie Fowler, who also started strongly.
“Look at how big Jon Rahm is,” remarked a spectator at the fifth hole.
“Vamos, vamos,” yelled another after the player’s approach shot.
Rahm adopted an aggressive strategy of using driver in his opening two-under 69, and mostly stuck with that game plan on Friday.
It worked well enough until the seventh hole.
Reporting by Andrew Both, editing by Ed Osmond