Jon Rahm defends Open de Espana title

Home hero Jon Rahm successfully defended his Mutuactivos Open de España title with a dominant five-shot victory at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.

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Jon Rahm wins the Open de Espana

European Tour Release, 06 October 2019: The World Number Five Jon Rahm carded a closing 66 that saw him finish at 22 under and enter the record books with a fifth European Tour victory in just his 39th start.

Rafa Cabrera Bello was his nearest challenger as Spaniards dominated the leaderboard, with World Number 1,413 Samuel Del Val at 15 under in just his fifth European Tour event.

The victory moved Rahm to the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex as he looks to become the first Spaniard to win the Harry Vardon Trophy since the late, great Seve Ballesteros in 1991.

The 24-year-old is now the fastest Spaniard to five European wins, achieving the feat in ten fewer events than Ballesteros at the venue where the 1997 Ryder Cup captain won his 50th and final European Tour title 24 years ago.

“In front of a home crowd, it’s always really hard for me to keep everything under control and to play the weekend that I did for them, it’s always really fun,” he said. “I can’t wait to come back next year and hopefully do it three times.

“He (Ballesteros) did turn pro a lot earlier than I did so age-wise I think he’s beaten me. Still, to beat Seve in something, it’s unbelievable. He’s one of the main references from European golf and world golf in general.

“It’s great that I’ve done it here, to beat Seve’s record with his last professional win being at this course as well, it’s very special for me. Any time I can do anything close to what he did is unbelievable.

“That’s why I’m here. trying to make Spanish golf bigger and grow the sport in Spain like he did. Hopefully with these wins I’m doing a decent job.”

After an opening 12 pars, Cabrera Bello birdied five of his last six holes in a 66, while Del Val carded a 68 to take home a cheque for €93,900 – over ten times more than his lifetime European Tour earnings so far. 

Jeff Winther carded the lowest round of his European Tour career with a 63 to sit at 13 under alongside fellow Dane Joachim B Hansen and another Spaniard in Adri Arnaus.

Starting with a five shot lead, Rahm brushed the edge for birdie on the first three holes and was showing signs of frustration but that was all forgotten on the par five fourth as he put a stunning second to four feet for an eagle and a seven shot lead.

He needed to get up and down from a greenside bunker to save par at the sixth but was back on the birdie trail from 12 feet after laying up at the par five next.

The lead was briefly eight shots but Del Val, who had bogeyed the third after going over the back of the green but hit back at the par five next, followed playing partner Rahm in for a two putt birdie.

An approach to four feet then handed Del Val another gain on the eighth and the lead was down to six.

 

Rahm was relentless, however, and holed from 16 feet for a birdie on the par three ninth and similar range on the next to lead by eight again.

Rahm and Del Val both made two putt birdies on the par five 14th, while Cabrera Bello ended a run of 12 pars with back to back gains to get to 14 under.

Cabrera Bello added another gain at the 16th, hit a good tee shot into the par three 17th and holed from the fringe on the last for a birdie-birdie-birdie finish, with Rahm bogeying the 17th to finish at 22 under – matching the lowest score to par at this event and on the 2019 Race to Dubai.

Winther’s 63 with an eagle and six birdies matched the lowest score of the week, while Hansen carded a 66 and Arnaus finished with a 68.

Sergio Garcia, Justin Harding, Masahiro Kawamura, Zander Lombard and Jason Scrivener finished ten shots off the lead.