Home favourite Rahm romps to Spanish victory
A week ago Jon Rahm was distraught as his Masters dream slipped away in the closing holes but there was to be no repeat at the Open de Espana, where he surged to victory in the final round.
The home favourite underlined why he is the world number four with a classy display to win his first event on the European Tour this season.
However, there was to be no home success for Dustin Johnson as he finished five shots behind winner Satoshi Kodaira at RBC Heritage in South Carolina.
Rahm joins Spanish greats
Jon Rahm later admitted this was the toughest Sunday of his career but he showed no nerves in a superb final round.
Trailing by two strokes to Ireland’s Paul Dunne, Rahm came alive and shot a five-under round of 67 to claim the title by two shots.
It is his third win in ten starts worldwide and saw him join three time Champion Golfer of the Year Seve Ballesteros and former Masters champion Sergio Garcia in winning his home event in Madrid.
Dunne led the field by one heading into the final round but by the second hole there was a three-way tie after Rahm sunk two birdies and Nacho Elvira successfully made one.
The trio exchanged the lead on the front nine and Elvira was level with Rahm on the 17th, where he carded a double bogey.
Rahm set the clubhouse lead at 20-under and that was enough to secure a two-shot win.
"I'm just happy to play the way I did and to get it done," Rahm said. "It's probably the hardest Sunday I've ever had to play because the amount of crowds I was carrying. I saw the willingness and the feeling that everybody had to want me to win. They were pushing so hard and I felt that."
“As a golfer it's hard to deal with the public's emotions, so I tried to isolate myself and that's perhaps why I didn't play my best golf" he added.
Dunne full of confidence despite narrow loss
Paul Dunne’s talent has never been questioned since he burst onto the scene at The Open in 2015, where he held a share of the lead as an amateur going into the final round.
Last year he won his first senior title, fending off Rory McIlroy to claim the British Masters by three strokes and he put together another impressive week in Madrid.
Thanks for a great week @OpenEspana2018 @EuropeanTour. The fans were incredible in Madrid. Disappointed not to win but Spain has a great champion in @JonRahmpga. Thanks everyone for all the support! On to Morocco for another good week. #vamos— Paul Dunne (@dunners11) April 16, 2018
Still, the 25-year-old is full of confidence after another impressive week’s work.
"I felt like I hit the ball great, but my short game just let me down a little bit," Dunne said. "I hit a lot of chips that I thought were a lot better than they were and I just kept misjudging bounces. It's a little frustrating not to get anything going and not get any putts any putts to go in. It was just one of those days, but my game is great and I feel good going in to the next few weeks."
Kodaira keeps his nerve for maiden win
While the European Tour was celebrating a serial winner in Spain, across in South Carolina the PGA Tour was welcoming a new face to the winner’s circle.
Satoshi Kodaira claimed his first ever PGA Tour win in a play-off victory at the RBC Heritage, beating Si Woo Kim – who had led by two shots heading into the back nine.
But three bogeys from Kim opened the door for 28-year-old Kodaira, who forced a play-off and then took the victory on the third extra hole by sinking a fine 25-foot birdie.
Home favourite and world number Dustin Johnson completed a solid but unspectacular week by finishing in a tie for 16th – five shots off the pace.