Justin Rose denied world No 1 return as Jon Rahm roars to Bahamas title
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 02/12/18 9:59pm
Jon Rahm produced a faultless final-round display to cruise to a four-shot win at the Hero World Challenge as Justin Rose came agonisingly close to returning to world No 1.
Rahm's seven-birdie 65 landed his third victory of the year as challenges from joint-overnight leaders, Tony Finau and Henrik Stenson, faltered down the stretch, although Finau's 10-foot birdie putt at the last was significant as it kept Brooks Koepka on top of the world rankings.
Rose arrived at Albany needing a three-way tie for second at worst to return to world No 1 for the fourth time since September, and a superb back-nine 31 put the Englishman on course for that goal as his 65 lifted him to 15 under.
But he left a 12-foot putt for birdie just short on the final green, and that proved crucial when Finau, who had earlier double-bogeyed the 14th, followed a birdie at 15 with a three at the last to snatch outright second place.
While Rose was left to reflect on his close call, his Ryder Cup team-mate Rahm was celebrating a dominant win after he plotted his way meticulously around the course, making five of his birdies at each of the par-fives.
The big-hitting Spaniard picked up three shots in four holes to cap an outward 32, and another gain at the 11th lifted him into a commanding lead with Finau and Stenson unable to keep pace.
Bryson makes a splash
Watch as Bryson Dechambeau gets down and dirty while splashing out from a water hazard at the 12th
Stenson's second bogey of the day at the 10th effectively left him with too much to do to haul himself back into contention, before Rahm consolidated his position with a three-shot swing over Finau at the driveable 14th.
Rahm was unfortunate to see his superb drive trickle off the green and down a run-off area, although he managed to get up and down for birdie while Finau paid the price for a pulled drive into an awkward lie in a sandy waste area, from where he scooped his second into the front-left bunker and saw his escape run over the green.
The resulting double-bogey put Rahm five clear at the top, and the last pair traded birdies at the long 15th before Rahm parred safely in to pick up the sixth professional win of his career with a score of 20 under par.
Finau's final putt relegated Rose to third, although the Englishman had performed well to get himself into that position after he recovered from an early bogey at the fourth with three consecutive birdies.
Rose picked up further shots at 11 and 14 and then holed from 15 feet for eagle at the long 15th, and he converted another pure tee-shot to six feet at the penultimate hole before coming within an inch of a closing three.
Stenson bogeyed the 18th to close out a frustrating 71 for outright fourth ahead of defending champion Rickie Fowler, while tournament host Tiger Woods did well to avoid finishing bottom of the elite 18-man field.
Woods laboured to the turn in 40 strokes, but he dug deep to claw all four dropped shots back in the space of five holes on the back nine, although a further blemish at 17 led to a 73 as he closed on one under - one ahead of former champion Hideki Matsuyama.