Rahm matches Seve’s feat

MADRID, Spain (AFP) — Jon Rahm became the first three-time winner of the Spanish Open since Seve Ballesteros 27 years ago by cruising to a dominant six-shot victory in Madrid on Sunday.

The former world number one poured in eight birdies and an eagle in a brilliant nine-under-par 62 to finish well clear of second-placed Frenchman Matthieu Pavon.

The 27-year-old, who also won the tournament in 2018 and 2019, is only the second three-time champion of the tournament since it became a European Tour event, after Spanish great Ballesteros.

“Seve is a great hero of mine and to do something he took his whole career to do in just a few years is quite humbling, I’m not going to lie,” Rahm said.

“It might not be the strongest field I’ll play all year but sometimes those can be the hardest.”

“I’m at home, I’m supposed to win. Everybody’s betting on me to win. To come out and play a Sunday like I just did is hard to describe.”

He finished 25-under for the week, having only led by one stroke from Australia’s Min Woo Lee overnight.

Lee had to settle for third on 18-under after a 68.

Rahm, roared on by thousands of his adoring fans, rolled in a testing par putt on the first green and started to stretch clear with a birdie on the second.

His only bogey of the weekend came at the 12th hole, but any thoughts of a possible stutter were ended by a birdie on the next hole.

Rahm came within millimetres of an albatross on the par-five 14th, with his approach shot hitting the flag but staying above ground.

He completed a memorable triumph in style with back-to-back birdies.

“Going up the 18th hole, I knew what was about to happen and what happened all week, to get it done like that… It’s a lot to process,” Rahm added.

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