“That’s the best round I’ve played on a links golf course ever,” Rahm revealed after his round.
Entering the day, Rahm sat at 2-over for the championship. But when he walked off the 18th green, he looked up at the big yellow leaderboard and saw his name sitting in solo second at 6-under par.
The Spaniard eviscerated the seaside links, as he did not card a single bogey during his third round.
Instead, he made eight birdies, six of which came on the back nine.
His 8-under score is the lowest round of the week, as his 63 also marked Rahm’s lowest round in a major championship.
The 2023 Masters Champion had a routine start to his third round, as he made a par on the first four holes. He then made a birdie at the easy par-5 5th.
But his round started to enter rare air at the par-3 9th, where Rahm poured in a birdie from 22 feet away.
That marked the first of four straight birdies.
He then birdied the par-5 15th, another one of Royal Liverpool’s more accessible holes. Then, on the 16th, Rahm dropped in a bomb from distance, eliciting a celebratory fist pump.
Rahm escaped the tricky par-3 17th with a two-putt par and then turned his attention to the 18th, where he let his frustrations get the best of him on both Thursday and Friday.
“I was playing good golf, and I knew what I was capable of,” Rahm said. “I was frustrated because of the mistakes that I made. That was it. I gave up the shots at major championships that are very costly, and that’s mainly it.”
“I knew I was playing better than the scores I was shooting. If [Friday’s] finish isn’t an example, right? I’m 2-under [for the day], hit the fairway on 18, have a chance to finish 3-under, and make a stupid bogey from 30 yards away.”
He certainly did not make a stupid bogey at the 18th on Saturday.
On that last hole, a dogleg right par-5, Rahm piped a big-high cut right down the middle of the fairway, which set him up perfectly.
That eventually led the 28-year-old to have an 11-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th, which he confidently made.
Now Rahm waits while the contenders are still on the course.
But the two-time major champion finished his round early, so he will likely go off in one of the final groups on Sunday.
If inclement weather blows in off the Irish Sea Saturday afternoon, those still on the course will struggle to finish their rounds.
Only 47 of the 156 players in the field shot even par or better Friday due to the windy conditions.
Yet, poor weather would play right into Rahm’s hands, as he gets to sit back, relax, and watch things play out Saturday afternoon.
“There’s a lot of golf to go,” Rahm said about how he feels going into Sunday’s final round.
“I’m just going to enjoy the afternoon with my family, and that’s about it. There’s nothing to be done. I feel like I’ve done a lot of good work the past few weeks, and I’ve done a lot of good work this week, and I’ve done what I’ve needed, which is to give myself an opportunity.”
Should he come from behind and win the Claret Jug, Rahm would be the first player since 1920 to overcome at least a 12-stroke deficit after 36 holes to win a major.
It is still a tall task, but not impossible, especially for Rahm, one of the most gifted players of his generation.
Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.