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Rahm reigns again in Spain

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Jon Rahm. © Getty Images
Jon Rahm. © Getty Images

Jon Rahm successfully defended a title for the first time in his career as he stormed to a five-stroke victory at the Mutuactivos Open de España.

The 24-year-old secured his fifth European Tour title in just his 39th start, becoming the fastest Spaniard to reach five victories – surpassing the late, great Seve Ballesteros, who reached that milestone on his 49th appearance.

Rahm started the final round in the Spanish capital with a five-stroke lead and quickly extended his advantage to seven strokes after an eagle on the par five fourth hole and two further gains before the turn.

He signed for a tournament record-equalling 22 under par total after birdies on the tenth and 14th holes, finishing five strokes ahead of Rafa Cabrera Bello who recorded his best result in his national open after birdieing five of his last six holes for a five under par round of 66.

Rahm moves to the top of the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex after his second victory of the 2019 season, adding to his Dubai Duty Free Irish Open title.

Samuel del Val rounded-out an all-Spanish top three as he signed for a three under par round of 68 for a 15 under par total. His compatriot Adri Arnaus continued his fine rookie year on the European Tour as he finished in a share of fourth place with Danes Joachim B Hansen and Jeff Winther.

Sergio Garcia was the fifth Spaniard inside the top five after his round of 66, sharing seventh with four others.

Player Quotes

Jon Rahm: “I started getting comfortable around 13, after that the only tough tee shot for me was 14 because I have to hit a draw, and I’m not the best drawer of the ball with the driver and that was the only one I wanted to skip – but I almost made an eagle. After that I was trying to enjoy the walk – I’m not happy I three-putted 17, I wanted to go bogey free. At the end of the day, I did the important thing. I was able to successfully defend it and in front of a home crowd as well, it’s always hard for me to keep things under control – to play this weekend for them is always really fun. I can’t wait to come back next year and hopefully we’ll make it three times.

“The crowd was unlike anything else. Spanish crowds love golf and they love us coming back. Any time you get an event with two of the best players from Spain together alongside Adri and Samuel, he’s having a good year too, I played with him in Valderrama, they’re enjoying it too. We had a lot of fun, every putt, every shot, they enjoy so much. It’s hard to believe how many people come out here. I play a lot of tournaments throughout the year that don’t get this much attendance, so it shows how much Spain wants golf, how much they want more events and how much they enjoy it. It’s great for the game of golf, it’s great for Spain and hopefully it can only get bigger.”

Rafa Cabrera Bello: “I would have liked to get some birdies early to put some pressure on Jon, but that didn’t happen today. I had to hang in there, fight for the second spot and I was very pleased that the birdies came at the end.

“He already had a big lead from the start. You could see that cut in half after three or four holes and it changes your perspective – but that didn’t happen, it went the other way. Once he eagled four, seven shots was a commanding lead. It was his tournament to lose and he played great. All I could do was focus on my ball, try to finish second and I managed to do that.”

Samuel del Val: “It’s been incredible. I felt like I played much better today than yesterday. The score was one shot better but yesterday I was hanging on for dear life. It was a bit like a chess game, finding the right angles and the right spots. I’m really happy with a three under.

“I was just trying to play my game. He had a five-shot lead, I know I wasn’t capable of getting him. I wasn’t focused on anyone else. At the end the race was for second place between Rafa and me, and he played great with five birdies on his last six holes. I’m really happy with the performance.”

Final scores:
262 J Rahm (Esp) 66 67 63 66,
267 R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 66 65 70 66,
269 S Del Val (Esp) 67 65 69 68,
271 J Winther (Den) 70 69 69 63, J Hansen (Den) 69 69 67 66, A Arnaus (Esp) 65 66 72 68,
272 M Kawamura (Jpn) 70 67 68 67, J Scrivener (Aus) 67 68 68 69, J Harding (RSA) 69 72 64 67, S Garcia (Esp) 69 69 69 65, Z Lombard (RSA) 67 67 69 69,
273 J Dantorp (Swe) 67 70 65 71, A Pavan (Ita) 66 75 67 65, F Zanotti (Par) 71 69 65 68,
274 J Morrison (Eng) 70 70 69 65, A Levy (Fra) 70 69 67 68,
275 A Cañizares (Esp) 72 69 68 66, C Hill (Sco) 69 72 65 69, N McCarthy (Eng) 70 68 71 66, N Colsaerts (Bel) 67 73 71 64, R Fisher (Eng) 69 68 70 68, M Korhonen (Fin) 70 65 72 68,
276 J Singh Brar (Eng) 68 69 70 69, E Molinari (Ita) 69 69 69 69, D Papadatos (Aus) 70 71 65 70, J Donaldson (Wal) 66 71 69 70, Y Miyazato (Jpn) 70 70 69 67, N Bertasio (Ita) 69 67 71 69, T Aiken (RSA) 72 68 70 66,
277 A Wu (Chn) 68 71 70 68, B Rumford (Aus) 70 71 66 70, C Hanson (Eng) 68 74 66 69,
278 P Larrazábal (Esp) 70 69 70 69, P Figueiredo (Por) 71 68 70 69, M Jiménez (Esp) 68 73 70 67, R Karlberg (Swe) 70 68 68 72,
279 S Brown (Eng) 68 68 70 73, S Kim (USA) 67 74 67 71, E De La Riva (Esp) 68 73 70 68, B Evans (Eng) 71 68 73 67, N Elvira (Esp) 73 66 70 70, D Burmester (RSA) 66 71 72 70, P Langfors (Swe) 68 68 72 71, L Slattery (Eng) 69 73 67 70,
280 J Veerman (USA) 71 71 69 69, D Horsey (Eng) 71 70 68 71, R Lumsden (Sco) 70 70 71 69, A Romero (Arg) 76 66 69 69,
281 M Kieffer (Ger) 72 70 65 74, J McLeod (Aus) 68 70 75 68,
282 A Garcia-Heredia (Esp) 70 69 73 70, D Lipsky (USA) 68 73 70 71, B Ritthammer (Ger) 70 69 73 70, K Johannessen (Nor) 63 73 76 70,
283 S Chawrasia (Ind) 70 71 73 69, J Girrbach (Sui) 73 67 68 75, C Sordet (Fra) 74 68 67 74, J Suri (USA) 72 70 70 71, B Virto (Esp) 70 69 73 71, D Lawson (Aus) 68 71 72 72,
284 A Otaegui (Esp) 67 69 73 75, G Forrest (Sco) 73 69 71 71,
285 A Karlsson (Swe) 70 71 73 71, M Siem (Ger) 66 69 76 74, J Catlin (USA) 71 71 69 74, D Drysdale (Sco) 69 72 75 69,
286 M Nixon (Eng) 67 75 70 74,
290 J Walters (RSA) 69 72 74 75,
143 R Jacquelin (Fra) 70 73 0 0, G Bourdy (Fra) 72 71 0 0, I Cantero Gutierrez (Esp) 71 72 0 0, D Berna Manzanares (Esp) 71 72 0 0, L Gagli (Ita) 72 71 0 0, M Orrin (Eng) 70 73 0 0, L Jensen (Den) 71 72 0 0, M Manassero (Ita) 68 75 0 0, D Gavins (Eng) 71 72 0 0, M Fraser (Aus) 73 70 0 0, H Li (Chn) 74 69 0 0, A Quiros (Esp) 72 71 0 0, S Fernandez (Esp) 73 70 0 0,
144 N Lemke (Swe) 68 76 0 0, D Cooke (USA) 70 74 0 0, F Bergamaschi (Ita) 71 73 0 0, K Koivu (Fin) 72 72 0 0, A Hortal (Esp) 71 73 0 0, J Choi (Kor) 72 72 0 0, J Colomo (Esp) 69 75 0 0, N Tinning (Den) 72 72 0 0, S Crocker (USA) 76 68 0 0, M Schmitt (Ger) 72 72 0 0, J Wang (Kor) 70 74 0 0, A Björk (Swe) 71 73 0 0,
145 J Pastor (Esp) 74 71 0 0, G Bhullar (Ind) 67 78 0 0, N Cullen (Aus) 71 74 0 0, H Leon (Chi) 72 73 0 0, M Galiano Aguilar (Esp) 69 76 0 0, E Cuartero Blanco (Esp) 72 73 0 0, P Oriol (Esp) 70 75 0 0,
146 G Moynihan (Irl) 74 72 0 0, T Jaidee (Tha) 73 73 0 0, K Reitan (Nor) 74 72 0 0, N Højgaard (Den) 71 75 0 0, J Adarraga Gomez (Esp) 70 76 0 0, T Murray (Eng) 70 76 0 0, O Wilson (Eng) 74 72 0 0, E Kofstad (Nor) 76 70 0 0,
147 R Gouveia (Por) 70 77 0 0, D Howell (Eng) 75 72 0 0, A Connelly (Can) 76 71 0 0, A Saddier (Fra) 73 74 0 0, A Del Rey(am) (Esp) 74 73 0 0, K Kouwenaar (am) (Ned) 73 74 0 0,
148 J Campillo (Esp) 76 72 0 0, P Dunne (Irl) 75 73 0 0, R McGowan (Eng) 73 75 0 0, R Paratore (Ita) 71 77 0 0, W Ormsby (Aus) 76 72 0 0, M Hoey (Nir) 73 75 0 0, L Johnston (Sco) 73 75 0 0,
149 J Olazábal (Esp) 73 76 0 0, J Salama (Esp) 71 78 0 0, C Saxon (USA) 75 74 0 0, S Manley (Wal) 76 73 0 0, M Warren (Sco) 74 75 0 0, D Borda (Esp) 73 76 0 0,
150 M Campbell (Nzl) 79 71 0 0, G Fdez-Castaño (Esp) 76 74 0 0,
151 R Wattel (Fra) 76 75 0 0, J Kruyswijk (RSA) 75 76 0 0,
152 J Abbott (Eng) 79 73 0 0, C Del Moral (Esp) 77 75 0 0,
154 V Pastor (am) (Esp) 76 78 0 0,
155 A Velasco (Esp) 78 77 0 0,
** S Gregory (Eng) 71 DQ 0 0, L De Jager (RSA) 72 RT 0 0, N Geyger (Chi) DQ 0 0 0

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