OAKMONT, Pa. – Jon Rahm came into this week's U.S. Open as the world's top-ranked amateur.
Perhaps it's fitting, then, that he's the only one of 11 who started the tournament to make the cut.
Rahm finished off his second round at 1-under 69 Saturday to sit at 5-over 145 for the championship, one clear of the cut line.
"I can say it's a huge, huge accomplishment," he said. "Extremely honored to have done it, and it's kind of humbling to see how many great amateurs are playing here. ... Just a lot of high-quality golf, and to be the only one makes me realize how good of a day I had. I'm extremely proud of it."
Rahm has had no shortage of accomplishments during his amateur career, which will end next week when he turns professional at the Quicken Loans National. During his senior season at Arizona State, Rahm had a 69.41 stroke average and finished in the top 10 of all 13 tournaments in which he played, winning three times. He became the first two-time winner of the Ben Hogan Award, which is given annually to the best college golfer in the country, and as a senior won the Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award.
"Even if I won all those things, I'm human and I shot 6-over yesterday," Rahm said. "It makes me realize that I can have a future in this game. It's nice to look back and see all what I've done. It motivates me to keep working harder to keep on accomplishing things like that."
Rahm's story of how he came to the U.S. for college golf is charmingly simple.
"My dad literally dropped me off at the airport and said, 'goodbye, son,' " said the native of Barrika, Spain. "He realized the future of golf is in the States, so you better go there. If you don't like it, the worst that will happen is you can learn English. It turned out great for me."
Rahm, who graduated with a degree in communications this spring, has his parents here at Oakmont, along with his brother and girlfriend among a cheering section of 11 people.
"Every time I hit a good shot, they're yelling louder than anybody," he said. "That makes me feel great. ... To make a cut for my parents, after graduating, is probably the most special thing I could do for them. It's a really special moment, especially at Oakmont."
Rahm poured in an 11-foot birdie putt on the par-4 17th during the second round to give himself some breathing room from the cut line.
"Honestly, my mind was so clear at that point," he said. "I got into my own zone. In my mind, there was no chance I was missing that putt. ... It's probably the best putt I've made in the last month."
At least one amateur has made the cut in 18 of the past 21 U.S. Open championships.