Phil Casey, PA Golf Correspondent
Jon Rahm returned to the top of the world rankings with his third victory of the year in the Genesis Invitational.
Rahm carded a closing 69 at Riviera to finish 17 under par, two shots ahead of American Max Homa, with Patrick Cantlay another stroke back in third.
The victory is Rahm’s fifth in his last nine worldwide starts and his 10th PGA Tour title, one more than his compatriot and idol Seve Ballesteros.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 19, 2023
“That was a tough week and a tough Sunday,” Rahm told CBS. “Max battled out there and Patrick kind of gave us a scare and I’m just glad I could come through at the end.
“Beating Seve, I know he didn’t play full time on the PGA Tour and I know five of those wins are majors, but still, to reach that milestone of double digit wins is pretty incredible.
“And to do it at a golf course with this legacy, this history and hosted by the man himself, Tiger Woods, it’s a true honour.”
The former US Open champion took a three-shot lead into the final round but saw that wiped out after 10 holes and fell a stroke behind Homa following his third bogey of the day on the 12th.
However, Homa promptly bogeyed the 13th after a wayward drive and Rahm took full advantage, holing from 45ft for birdie on the 14th and then hitting a stunning tee shot to inside three feet on the 16th to set up another.
“I kept telling myself after 12, even though it was a mistake that I made, an unforced error, it’s a really freaking difficult golf course to finish out,” Rahm added.
“I told myself if I can finish the last six holes under par I knew I would have a chance. At that point you’ve just got to find the positive and change focus and I went a bit more on the attack.”
Rahm had previously described the updated rankings system as “laughable” and demanded to know “what’s going on” after failing to move up a place following a third win in five events in January.
His latest victory sees him replace Scottie Scheffler at the top of the rankings, just a week after the Masters champion had overtaken Rory McIlroy by defending his WM Phoenix Open title.
McIlroy, who said on Wednesday he had no problem with the number one ranking becoming a “hot potato”, finished in a tie for 29th after a closing 71.
Woods finished in a tie for 45th after a final round of 73 as he continues to battle with the leg and ankle injuries he suffered in a car accident in Los Angeles two years ago.
“It’s progress, headed in the right direction,” the 47-year-old said. “It certainly was a little bit more difficult than I probably let on.
“My team has been fantastic in getting my body recovered day to day and getting me ready to play each and every day.”