“I played great golf last week, just a couple of bad swings down the stretch, and that’s the most important thing to remember.”
The two European Ryder Cup teammates and Burns carded eight-under 64s at Caves Valley Golf Club in Baltimore, Maryland, for the share of the lead in the second event of the FedExCup Playoffs which will determine the PGA Tour’s season champion on September 5.
An eagle on the par-five 16th hole for McIlroy shot him up the rankings and into a share of the lead. The Northern Irishman is 28th in the FedExCup rankings, with only the top 30 making it to the season finale — the Tour Championship — next week.
Both Rahm and Burns carded bogey-free rounds on Thursday, and with both set for East Lake next week for the Tour Championship, maintaining their good form is paramount.
‘It was brutal out there today’
While Rahm’s clubs remained on fire, it wasn’t the hottest thing at Caves Valley on Thursday.
Cameron Smith, the Australian who finished second after a playoff with Tony Finau at the Northern Trust last week, explained that the speed at which he was walking was something going through his mind during Thursday’s round because of the “brutal” conditions.
“I’m from Queensland where it gets hot, so it doesn’t really bother me, it just takes a lot out of me. So now I’m looking forward to a quick massage, then a cold shower and a couple cold beers.”
Rahm thanked the fact he had a Covid-enforced month break after the 2020 Olympics for maintaining his energy levels.
“On Tuesday when I came to the course, I didn’t do too much. I didn’t even venture out on the golf course because I knew it was a tough walk. I just hit some balls, a little bit of putting and chipping and went home.
“On days like that what I really prioritize is hydration. If you get dehydrated in the middle, it’s going to affect you over the next few weeks.”