Rahm joins greats with rampaging Irish Open win
Jon Rahm benefitted by a new and fairer rules outlook to join the greats of Spanish golf, including the late Seve Ballesteros, after capturing the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart.
The 22-year-old Rahm was in a class of his own storming his way in steady rain to a six stroke success courtesy of a closing 65 for a 24-under par triumph.
Jon Rahm (Credit: European Tour)
However, this was after Rahm was deemed not to have breached the rules in remarking his ball on the sixth green after first moving his marker out of the line of playing partner, Daniel Im.
The Rules of Golf were amended post the controversial Lexi Thompson incident earlier this year when she was penalised four strokes while leading a LPGA event.
The changes also came in light of the decision to slap a penalty on Dustin Johnson when it was deemed he had caused his ball to move during the final day of last years US Open.
It means players like Rahm, who clearly was not seeking an advantage, now do not fall fowl of the rules.
“I thought I had put my ball back in the same spot,” he said.
“When Andy (McFee, Tour Chief Referee) came back and explained to me what happened, I said I normally mark my ball on the side in that circumstance and I thought I put it back on the same spot.”
“I think that I knew I was conscious I did that, and that helped with the ruling.”
Rahm is the fourth Spanish-born winner in the 90-year history of the event joining Ballesteros (1983, 1985 & 1986), José María Olazábal (1990) and reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia (1999).
In fact, Rahm joins Garcia in winning the Irish Open as his first European Tour victory, with Garcia three years younger than Rahm in winning at Druids Glen.
Rahm, also a first-time winner earlier this year on the PGA Tour, sealed victory in just his eighth official European Tour tournament but just his second on European soil.
And the new World No. 8 could not have been happier after being handed the gleaming crystal trophy by tournament host, Rory McIlroy, and also pocketing a first prize cheque of US$1.166m.
“That makes two for two wins shooting a final round 65,” said Rahm referring to the same winning score at Torrey Pines in February.
“But then it is a very different tournament here for me. I have been saying I have not played my best golf, and today, for 15 holes, I played my best golf I can ever play on the golf course with the weather we had.”
South Australia’s Wade Ormsby enjoyed another sold week finishing in a tie for 14th place following a final round of 68.
Andrew Dodt and Scott Hend were another stroke back at 12-under and T20 with Hend’s superb run coming to an end with a final round 73.
Marcus Fraser (T36) and Sam Brazel (T62) rounded out the Aussie attack.