Tournament of Champions: Jon Rahm rides ‘birdie train’ to force tie at top of leaderboard | Golf News

Jon Rahm and Cameron Smith share leadership at the Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii; the Spanish star carded a 12 under par 61 in the third round to join Smith at the top of the leaderboard; watch the conclusion live on Sky Sports Golf from 6:30 pm on Sunday

Last updated: 01/09/22 7:36

Jon Rahm has scored a series of victories in the last 12 holes to enter the competition

Jon Rahm fired on Saturday with a 12-under-par 61 to reach a draw with Cameron Smith at the top of the leaderboard as he headed towards the final day of the Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii.

Rahm equaled the best score of his career and equalized the course record set by Justin Thomas earlier in the day. Rahm was one under after six holes before hitting 11 under par in the last 12 holes.

“Get on the little bird train,” Rahm said, “and things like today can happen.”

The splendid performance was enough only to force the draw with Smith, who entered the day with a three-time advantage. Smith shot a 64-under-par 9 for the second consecutive day after hitting a 65-under-par 8 in the opening round.

Rahm praised Smith and said he believed both golfers pushed each other to their best performance in Round 3.

“We had a fun fight today and I imagine tomorrow will be more or less the same,” added Rahm. “We will need a lot of birds to move forward and get the win.”

Get on the little bird train and things like today can happen.

Jon Rahm made his move in the third round

Both Smith and Rahm are 26 under par in the first three rounds. They have a five-time lead over Daniel Berger, who sits alone in third place at 21 under.

Cameron Smith and Rahm are neck and neck

Cameron Smith and Rahm are neck and neck

Then comes a three-way draw for fourth place between Matt Jones, Sungjae Im and Patrick Cantlay, all under 20. Jones climbed the ranks by shooting an 11-under 62 on Saturday.

Smith said he tasted the competition as he tries to win the tournament.

“It was really fun out there today,” Smith said. “Obviously playing good golf helps. But watching Jon was pretty intense on that back nine, one of the best golfs I think I’ve ever seen, definitely one of the best puts.

“So, yes, one more day. Let’s hope we can do more or less the same tomorrow and we’ll see what happens.”

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