Jon Rahm continued to impress Saturday in Round 3 of the 2023 American Express. Shooting out of the gate on the Stadium Course, the 2018 champion quickly opened up a two-stroke deficit to 18- and 36-hole leader Davis Thompson. Playing his first 12 holes at 8 under, Rahm eventually reached 24 under for the tournament before slumping on the greens.
Carding one bogey and five par during his final six holes, Rahm would head into the final round at 23 under and Thompson a share of the lead. While the PGA Tour rookie was unable to match his par-5 skills from the first two days, which included a total of five eagles, the 23-year-old showed stamina and often lost ground to first-year players.
Never wavering in the face of adversity, Thompson carded a respectable 5-under 67 to tie with Rahm and finish four strokes ahead of his nearest pursuers. While the chances of a match-play situation between the final pair are high, many hope it will not happen as Tom Kim, Sam Burns and Taylor Montgomery sit just one and five strokes behind with Scotty Scheffler and Sungjae Im.
T1. Davis Thompson, Jon Rahm (-23)
I wouldn’t necessarily describe this as a David vs. Goliath situation, but it’s definitely in the neighborhood. This week marked Thompson’s 20th start on the PGA Tour, while his competitive Sunday saw the likes of a former world No. 1, major championship winner and eight-time PGA Tour winner. Rahm displayed some frustration with his flat stick late in the third round and could have found a way to play the underdog if it were to carry it into the final round.
“A lot of people could say that was the first time Jordan Spieth won, the first time I won, the first time a lot of people won,” Rahm described his experience as an advantage. “So do you have an advantage? I don’t know. I mean, I have the experience of being there, if it goes down to the wire. But he [Thompson’s] No slowness, obviously. He has done what He has done. At the end of the day it is against you. You can only control what you’re doing.”
3. JT Poston, Christian Bezuidenhout (-19)
T5. Tom Kim, Harry Higgs, Sam Burns, Taylor Montgomery (-18)
T9. Dylan Woo, Chris Kirk, Patton Kizire, Sungjae Im, Robby Shelton, Scottie Scheffler (-17)
While one rookie is at the top of the leaderboard, another is lurking in Montgomery again. The Las Vegas resident has made cuts in each of his first eight starts on the PGA Tour and has firmly placed his name in the Rookie of the Year conversation. Collecting seven top-15 finishes during this stretch, Montgomery is on the verge of adding to that total and sums up the motivation behind this continued effort.
Montgomery said, “A year and a half ago someone told me that my game was not very consistent and it pissed me off.” “So, I’ve been persistent.”
Is another dramatic Sunday in store?
The first two weeks on the PGA Tour in 2023 have been nothing short of jaw-dropping. Something similar could happen at The American Express, with Rahm coming back from nine strokes down at the Tournament of Champions and Si Woo Kim overcoming a three-stroke deficit at the Sony Open.
Defending champion Hudson Swafford erased a three-stroke margin on his way to victory the year before, and two years ago, Patrick Cantlay accomplished the nearly impossible. Making the 54-hole cut in numbers, Cantley fired a final round of 11-under 61 to fall just one stroke short of eventual winner Si Woo Kim. That certainly hasn’t been lost on a chasing pack that includes multiple PGA Tour winners including Tom Kim, Burns, Im and Scheffler.
2023 American Express updated odds and picks
- Jon Rahm: 4/7
- Davis Thompson: 3-1
- JT Poston: 25-1
- Christian Bezuidenhout: 30-1
- Tom Kim: 33-1
- Taylor Montgomery: 35-1
- Sam Burns: 35-1
- Scotty Scheffler: 45-1
- Sungjae Im: 75-1
It has essentially become a one-on-one match between Rahm and Thompson until something biblical comes up. While I would love nothing more than to see Thompson take down Rahm, the beater of the world, it’s hard to imagine that happening.
Rahm still has a fraction of the value at 4/7 considering how cooperative the putter has been since last summer’s BMW Championship (he’s averaging roughly +1.50 strokes per round during this run). . Because of this, and in conjunction with his rock-solid tee to green game, his second win of 2023 — and fourth in his last six starts — appears inevitable.