Jon Rahm hoping to beat Seve Ballesteros in race to five wins
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 02/10/19 3:33pm
Jon Rahm is hoping to surpasses the late, great Seve Ballesteros when he defends his Open de Espana title in Madrid this week.
Rahm's victory on home soil in April last year was his third European Tour title in just his 19th start, and he went on to win a second Irish Open crown in July.
The world No 5 now hopes to create tournament history as he looked to become the first player to successfully defend the title since the tournament became part of the European Tour schedule in 1971, and he is also determined to land his fifth career victory faster than Ballesteros.
The five-time major champion, who died in 2011, picked up his fifth win in his 49th start on Tour, while Rahm is making his 39th appearance this week as he tees up alongside compatriots Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.
"I hope I can get to five before Seve did, I would love to do that," Rahm said, who held off Paul Dunne to secure a two-shot win at the Centro Nacional de Golf almost 18 months ago.
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland
"Those records are always nice, and that's something I have in mind when I'm playing. There are some weeks when I really want to win. and I'd love to be a multiple winner of the Open de Espana and I'd love this to be the first time I successfully defend a title. So, I hope that happens.
"It won't be more pressure than last year. It was the first time I played the event, I was fourth in the world, I had just played well at Augusta and it was a golf course I played in high school.
"This time I don't know the golf course. Hopefully I can just focus on playing good golf and be in the mix on Sunday."
Last year's tournament attracted over 50,000 fans, and Rahm is hoping to be cheered on by another big turnout this week.
"It was a great week," he added. "Walking down to the 18th green was a great feeling - 50,000 fans showed up to an event that was planned and advertised late.
"I'd like to know how many other European Tour events get 50,000 people. I was really proud of my country and proud of myself to be able to come and win.
"It's a huge honour to represent Spain and Spanish golf. We all try and follow Seve's steps and to win that event was unique and very special."