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By : BGA Proshop
Jon Rahm became the European number one player by winning the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai on Sunday.
In what was a roller coaster day for Rahm at the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates, the 25 year old started the day with five birdies in his first seven holes and was 8 shots clear of Tommy Fleetwood. At that stage he looked like he was going to run away with the tournament but some costly bogeys on the closing last two holes of his outward nine brought him back to the pack.
On the back nine every time Rahm would pick up a shot he would give it back with a bogey, while Fleetwood was going through a purple patch himself. He closed with five birdies in his last seven holes and had jumped into a tie for the lead.
This left Rahm having to birdie his final hole which was a reachable in 2 par five but made that task a little harder but hitting his second into a green side bunker. He then hit a remarkable third which left him a 5 foot putt for the win which he calmly rolled in.
With the win Rahm claimed a winner’s cheque for $3 million USD, the largest in competitive golf, and the Race to Dubai also netted him a cheque for $2 million USD.
“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.
“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 was satisfied with his result as well.
“I feel fine. Couldn’t have done much more, really. You know, some of the shots they hit coming down the stretch, it started looking like I could get back in it or might have a chance,” said the 28-year-old from Southport.
“Proud of the way I played the last few holes. Proud of the end of the season, and these two weeks make the season just seem in a different light than it did would weeks before we started.
“But fair play to Jon. That’s a cracking birdie down the last when you have to make it. It’s Jon’s time, Jon’s moment. I am just happy with my week.” Lorenzo-Vera (70) had to be satisfied with a third-place finish at 271 and will have to wait for his first win on the European Tour. Northern Ireland’s world No2 Rory McIlroy ended a disappointing day with a 73, but that was good enough for sole fourth place at 276.