The 148th Open: Jon Rahm's confidence boosted by second Irish Open win
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 07/07/19 8:33pm
Jon Rahm is looking forward to feeling "good vibes" and the support of the home crowd when he arrives at Royal Portrush for The 148th Open.
Rahm's love affair with Ireland continued at Lahinch as he atoned for an erratic first two days with weekend rounds of 64 and 62 which earned him the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open title for the second time, having roared to a six-shot win at Portstewart in 2017.
The Spaniard finished two shots clear of Andy Sullivan and Bernd Wiesberger to claim his third Rolex Series victory, and his performance has elevated his confidence levels as he heads into the final major of the year in less than two weeks.
The 24-year-old has struggled in his three previous Open appearances, finishing 59th, 44th and missing the cut at Carnoustie last year, but he has vowed to produce his best result yet when the tournament returns to Portrush for the first time since 1951.
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland
"I'm going into The Open Championship with a lot of confidence," said Rahm, whose tie for third place at the US Open last month was his fourth top-10 finish in a major in the last two years. "It's the only major I haven't had a good performance at and I want to. It's a special one.
"I'm excited because it's going to be Northern Ireland, and I'm going to go to Portrush with a lot of good memories and good vibes. I'm going to have huge support from the crowd and hopefully I can keep my good golf going into Ireland.
"I can't wait to go to Portrush and visit the Harbour Bistro like I did every single night like I was there, I'm sure I'll see a lot of people again and hopefully enjoy the week and play the best Open I've played so far."
Rahm's win at Lahinch was his 10th top-10 finish in 14 starts on the European Tour and PGA Tour in 2019, and he believes his improved mental strength and growing maturity has keen a key factor in his consistent run of results.
"It's not doing anything necessarily better or special, really, compared to my first two years," he added. "But I think I'm just a little more level-headed, a little bit more mature, slowly growing up and all that helps.
"I'm still 24, so there's a lot of growing up to do up to this point and a lot of growing up to do from now on. That's the main difference in my golf game in this year and years past."
And, when asked about the priority for his preparation ahead of The Open, Rahm said: "Rather than grind away and wear myself out and tire my body out, just relax my mind and make sure I'm in the right mindset to play a tournament.
"That's what I've been doing a lot this year especially before majors. Just make sure my competitive mind is rested and ready to go. Hopefully, I'll have a good showing like I've been doing the last few times in Ireland."