Open de Espana: Jon Rahm defends title with five-shot victory
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 06/10/19 5:17pm
Jon Rahm cruised to a successful title defence of his Open de Espana title with a convincing victory in Madrid.
The home favourite began with a five-shot lead and was never threatened during a dominant final day at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, with a five-under 66 seeing him finish five clear of nearest challenger Rafa Cabrera Bello.
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Rahm's victory saw him become the first back-to-back champion of the event since Max Faulkner in 1953, with his winning total of 22 under also equalling the lowest 72-hole score in the tournament's history.
The world No 5's success is his fifth European Tour title in just his 39th start, 10 fewer than Spanish great Seve Ballesteros - who claimed his final victory at the same venue in 1995 - needed to reach the same number of wins.
Signs of frustration started to appear from Rahm after he missed birdie chances over his first three holes, only for him to fire a stunning approach at the par-five next to set up a four-foot eagle.
Rahm got up and down from a greenside bunker to save par at the next and then followed a 12-foot birdie at the seventh by holing a 15-footer at the ninth to reach the turn seven clear.
The lead increased further when Rahm rolled in from 12 feet at the 10th, before he matched the two-putt birdie from playing partner Samuel Del Val at the 14th to sit eight ahead with three to play.
Rahm failed to convert from 12 feet at the 16th, where he holed out for eagle the previous day, with a three-putt bogey at the 17th cutting his lead to six after Cabrera Bello posted a fourth birdie in five holes.
Cabrera Bello then added an eight-foot birdie at the last to further reduce the winning margin, as Rahm got up and down from the back fringe to close out a superb victory with a tap-in par.
World No 1,413 Del Val also saved par at the last to card a three-under 68 and post the best finish of his professional career, while a round-of-the-day 63 from Jeff Winther lifted him into tied-fourth on 13 under alongside Joachim B. Hansen and Adri Arnaus.