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Rahm sweeps Dubai DP World Tour Championship

AFP/Dubai
Filed on November 24, 2019 | Last updated on November 24, 2019 at 11.32 pm

(AFP file)

The 25-year-old started the day with five birdies in his first seven holes to pull clear of the field.

Jon Rahm became the first Spaniard after the legendary Seve Ballesteros to become the European No1 when he won the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai on Sunday.

At the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates, the 25-year-old started the day with five birdies in his first seven holes to pull clear of the field, then prevailed in a dramatic finish after he overcame a ferocious late charge by England's Tommy Fleetwood, who made five birdies in the last seven holes.

Starting the final round tied for the lead with France's Mike Lorenzo-Vera at 15-under par, the world No.5 Rahm shot a 68 to finish on 19-under par. Fleetwood, who could have got the double himself with a win, closed with a seven-under par 65 which fell short by one shot.

The win fetched him a cheque of $3 million, the biggest ever in the history of competitive golf, while the Race to Dubai win meant he also secured the $2 million from the Bonus Pool.

"It's more of a reflection of a great year than just a good week," said Rahm, who is expected to climb to No3 in the world rankings when they come out on Monday. "Today, I feel like I've had two different days completely. Those first seven holes, I felt like I couldn't miss a shot.

"Then just one errant tee shot and a three-putt, and everything took a turn for the worst.

"After the bogey on the 15th, it made me kind of show some more determination and grit and heart just to win. In those last three holes, that was key."

On becoming only the second Spaniard to be crowned European No1, Rahm said he was having trouble believing it.

"I've thought about it all week. I've thought about it the last two hours. I've thought about it as soon as I made the putt. But it still hasn't processed in my mind," he added.

"It's really so hard to believe that some of the greatest champions in European golf and Spanish golf haven't been able to accomplish what I have in just three years. That's what I can't really put my mind into.

"So many great players throughout the history of Spain like Sergio (Garcia) and Ollie (Jose Maria Olazabal) have had a chance and they didn't get it done. It's just hard to put that in perspective to know that since Seve, I'm the next one to get it done.

Fleetwood, who started the day four shots behind the leaders, was satisfied with his result. 


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