Jon Rahm vs Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed: the Spaniard can claim their first round three-ball

Rahm boasts the best record of the trio at TPC Sawgrass and crucially that advantage is most apparent in round one.

Jon Rahm is excited.

The return to TPC Sawgrass a year on from golf lurching into lockdown midway through the 2020 PLAYERS Championship has prompted odd memories, but the prospect of playing in front of galleries again has energised him.

"Man, I've got to say, it's crazy to think it's been a year," he said ahead of Thursday's first round.

"This is one of the biggest events of the year and I'm excited.

"I've played good here. I've played good this year, as well. In fact, I've been playing really good.

"Hopefully I can keep that going."

So what of supporting him in his first round tussle with playing partners Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed?

He's 11/10 with Paddy Power. Is that a good price? Let's take a closer look.

Sawgrass form

Rahm's record at the tournament is progressive. He missed the 54-hole cut on debut in 2017, was T63rd in 2018 and then T12th in 2019, when he actually headed into the final round with the lead.

Spieth's returns have headed in the opposite direction.

He landed fourth on debut in 2014, but has since then missed four cuts and finished only T41st when he did make the weekend.

Reed has played the weekend four times in his six appearances, but he's still seeking a first top 20 and he's only made the top 40 twice.

Sawgrass score averages: Rahm 71.27, Spieth 71.44, Reed 71.70

Rounds that break par: Rahm 7 of 11 (64%), Spieth 7 of 16 (44%), Reed 9 of 20 (45%).

Sawgrass first round form

Now we're talking.

Rahm has thrived on Thursday at THE PLAYERS.

He's twice signed for 68 and once for 69.

Speith carded a 67 on that debut seven years ago but since then he's never broken par and only once equalled it. Three times he's needed at least 75 blows.

Reed opened with a 69 two years ago, but it was his first sub-70 round one score in six attempts.

Sawgrass R1 score averages: Rahm 68.33, Spieth 73.00, Reed 71.67

Current form

There's a great deal of similarity about the trio's form.

Rahm has played five times, four of them T13th or better, with three top seven finishes.

Rahm is confident about his current form.
Rahm is confident about his current form.

Spieth's five starts have landed four returns of T15th or better, three of them top fours.

Reed has made six starts, only two top 20s, but one was a win.

Head to head count

In tournaments where all three men have played Rahm has carded the low first round 21 times compared to Spieth's 12 and Reed's 13.

At Sawgrass, Rahm went lowest in 2017 (68 vs 73-72) and 2018 (68 vs 75-72), and tied Reed in 2019 (two 69s against Spieth's 76).

The odds

Paddy Power rate Spieth 9/4 in their first round three ball, Reed 23/10 and Rahm 11/10.

The big Spaniard is the favourite, but deservedly so and is the pick.

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