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Jon Rahm Swings Into Contention at U.S. Open

After a positive COVID-19 test knocked Rahm out of the Memorial Tournament, perhaps karma will present the Spaniard with a major championship.

“I do believe in karma in the sense that good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to people that do bad things,” Jon Rahm said Friday afternoon, after posting a 1-under 70 that puts him at 3-under 139, two strokes off Richard Bland’s lead at the midway point of the second round of the U.S. Open.

Perhaps Rahm, 26, hasn’t had many dealings with the golf gods, who are capricious at best and vicious at worst, no matter who you are, especially at a U.S. Open. Thus far, Rahm has mostly dodged their wrath, while clinging to the belief that somehow, the rotten hand he was dealt after three rounds of the Memorial Tournament means that if he wins the Open this weekend, it’s some kind of karmic retribution.

“Again, we're talking about things I can't control,” he said. If he’s talking about a positive COVID-19 test two weeks ago that wiped out his six-stroke lead at the Memorial and sent him directly to quarantine being beyond his control, well, there’s debate about that.

“But what I can do is control what I do every second of the day, just following the routine, make sure I'm hydrated, make sure I'm eating, and make sure I'm thinking the right things out there on the golf course,” said Rahm, who came into U.S. Open week at Torrey Pines Golf Course as the betting favorite. In five previous U.S. Open appearances, his best finish was a T3 in 2019. “So far, I've done a great job, and hopefully I can keep going.”

Jon Rahm signals left after his shot from the second tee during the U.S. Open's second round at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Jon Rahm signals left after his shot from the second tee during the U.S. Open's second round at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

But when he was asked about his legendary temper, he demonstrated why the question needed to be asked.

“Am I ever going to escape that question?” he snapped. “Like I never lost (my temper). I got a little frustrated on a couple of holes. Just because, like I said, I felt like I was making decent swings and just not getting — not that I was getting bad bounces or anything, but just not getting the results sometimes that you'd expect with certain swings.

"I think the most frustrating moment might have been (the par-5) 13th just because of how good a tee shot I had. I had plenty of club to get in there. I had a 5-wood, and I didn't even have to hit it that hard. I just hit is so bad and it ended up so short in a tough lie. Just making a bogey there was probably the most frustrated I got today.”