‘I tried to stop, and I didn’t’

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jon Rahm wishes he had a better excuse for why he left a 10-inch putt short on Bay Hill’s seventh green on Thursday.

“It’s as simple as, you know, it just didn’t feel good in my hands, and I tried to stop, and I didn’t,” said Rahm, who then rolled in the remaining 6 inches or so for a bogey. “I just simply didn’t stop. I don’t know. It was very odd. … I’ve seen many things. I’ve seen the putter get a little stuck on a blade of grass on the way back and do something funky, hit the ground before because you’re not paying attention. I’ve seen so many things from a foot. I’ve seen some of the best putters in the world miss it because you don’t really take a proper stance.

“It sucks to give away a shot like that, to be honest.”

Instead of finishing his debut round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in red numbers, Rahm settled for an even-par 72, seven shots behind first-round leader Rory McIlroy.

Rahm somehow misses point-blank tap-in for par

Surprisingly, it wasn’t the shocking miss on No. 7 that affected Rahm the most, but rather a three-putt from 33 feet at the par-3 second hole. Rahm said the golf course changed significantly from Wednesday’s pro-am, the greens much firmer and faster. So, when Rahm hit his tee shot right of the flag, he unknowingly left himself with a near-impossible downhill putt.

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He rolled his birdie try 13 feet by and missed the comebacker for his first of three bogeys on the front nine.

“We get to 1 and we see the golf course that we see; those greens were already a little crunchy and it’s Thursday,” Rahm explained. “You’re not going to back up anything, and if you hit a long iron in, you can expect easily five to 10 paces of release, so big difference. It took a while to get the speed down, and even throughout the whole day, I think I was a little bit intimidated by that putt I had on 2 and left a lot of them short.”

Including on No. 7. But Rahm responded well, carding three birdies on the back before finding some rough trouble and bogeying the par-4 finishing hole.

“I played really good golf from 8 on. … I had two bad holes and a lot of birdie look,” Rahm said. “Hopefully, I can carry on the ball-striking and have a few fall and get going.”

And not miss any more 10-inchers.

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