Birdie bomb lifts Rahm to BMW playoff triumph

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Jon Rahm drained a swinging 60-foot birdie putt at the first playoff holeyesterday to win the US PGA Tour BMW Championship over world number one Dustin Johnson.

Spain’s Rahm, ranked second in the world behind Johnson, was in the right rough off the tee at the first playoff hole, the 18th at Olympia Fields near Chicago.

His second shot rolled to the back of the green, leaving him what could have been a tough two-putt for par.

“Never did I think I’d be making another 50-, 60-footer — couple of breaks in there, too — to end up winning it,” said Rahm, who gave a roaring fist pump as the putt dropped.

Johnson’s tee shot was also off course, but ricocheted off a tree to settle in the fairway. The American found the middle of the green, but after Rahm’s miraculous birdie effort, Johnson’s birdie attempt settled inches from the cup.

Johnson had snaked in a 43-foot birdie at the same hole to force the playoff, joining Rahm on four-under par 276 in the second event of the US tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs.

Rahm had powered to the top of the leaderboard with six birdies in an impressive six-under par 64 — the lowest round of the week.

Johnson, seeking a second straight win and 23rd tour title, started the day tied for the lead with Hideki Matsuyama with Rahm three adrift.

He birdied three of his first four holes, but bogeys at eight and 10 saw him fall out of the lead before he picked up strokes at 15 and 18 to sign for a three-under 67.

Johnson’s solo second place means he’ll stay atop the rankings.*AFP

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