Golf

Jon Rahm warms up for final Major by winning Irish Open in style

Spain’s Jon Rahm overturned a five-shot deficit with a brilliant final round of 62 to claim his second Dubai Duty Free Irish Open title in three years.

Rahm (above) fired an eagle, eight birdies and two bogeys at Lahinch Golf Club, Munster to finish 16 under par, two shots clear of England’s Andy Sullivan and Bernd Wiesberger, the Austrian having the consolation of qualifying for the upcoming Open Championship.

Overnight leader Robert Rock (above)- who came so close to a third round 59 also secured a place in the year’s final major with a tie for fourth with fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell and Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello. Paul Waring secured the final berth at Royal Portrush thanks to a birdie on the last in a closing 66.

Cabrera-Bello had surged into a three-shot lead with three birdies in the first five holes, but started the back nine with four bogeys in six holes as Rahm piled on the pressure. After covering the front nine in 31, Rahm birdied the 10th and holed from 25 feet for an eagle on the 12th before recovering from a bogey on the next with birdies on the 14th, 15th and 17th.

I keep saying I love this tournament, I love the country, I love the people,” said Rahm, who played the last 36 holes in 14 under after a 64 on Saturday. “I feel like I’m at home every time I come here. I knew I had to do something amazing today to have a chance and that eagle on 12 got me going. My target was 15 under and I never thought I’d get to 16 under without a birdie on the last but I’m definitely thrilled with the back nine.”

Rahm added :”I think Seve (Ballesteros) is the only Spanish player to have won this event twice so it’s very special to add my name to the trophy again.

Rahm has not won a golfing Major so far in his career. His best was tied 3rd at this years U.S. Open, having had fourth place finishes in both the U.S PGA and The Masters. But he has struggled at The Open – his three appearances so far yielding him a 59th and 44th placed finishes – with one missed cut.

On the back of this win though, Rahm will be fancied by many to go much better at Royal Portrush – a Northern Irish links course hosting the 2019 Open Championship, where Rahm’s power and birdie making abilities should see the course set up nicely for the highly talented, if temperamental, Spaniard.