Fri, 18 Oct 2019

Madrid - Jon Rahm dominated the field to successfully defend his Spanish Open title on Sunday, beating Seve Ballesteros' record as the quickest Spaniard to claim five European Tour titles.

Rahm carded a five-under final round of 66 to win by five shots from compatriot Rafael Cabrera Bello.

He sealed his fifth European Tour victory on just his 39th start, 10 tournaments fewer than Ballesteros.

"He (Ballesteros) did turn pro a lot earlier than I did so age-wise I think he's beaten me," said Rahm, who jumped to the top of the season-long Race to Dubai standings.

"Still, to beat Seve in something, it's unbelievable. He's one of the main references from European golf and world golf in general."

The 24-year-old Rahm led by five strokes overnight and never looked in danger of losing his lead after making an eagle three on the par-five fourth hole at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.

The late five-time major winner Ballesteros won the last of his 50 European Tour titles at the same venue in 1994.

"It's great that I've done it here, to beat Seve's record with his last professional win being at this course as well, it's very special for me," added Rahm.

"Any time I can do anything close to what he did is unbelievable.

"That's why I'm here. trying to make Spanish golf bigger and grow the sport in Spain like he did. Hopefully with these wins I'm doing a decent job."

Rahm's four-round total of 262 was the Spanish Open record, beating the previous lowest since the tournament joined the European Tour of 266 set by Kenneth Ferrie in 2003 and Ballesteros in 1985.

His 22-under score for the week also equalled Ferrie's tournament record.

"I can't wait to come back next year and hopefully do it three times," said Rahm.

It was Rahm's second title of the year, following up his Irish Open triumph in July.

He followed his early eagle with four birdies to reach 23-under for the tournament, and despite a bogey on the par-three 17th, sealed victory when he almost chipped in on the final green.

Cabrera Bello finished a distant second after a fourth-round 66, while world number 1 413 Samuel Del Val grabbed a shock third-placed finish on 15-under in only his fifth European Tour event to complete an all-Spanish top three.

Former Masters champion Sergio Garcia charged up the leaderboard on the last day with a six-under 65 to finish tied-seventh.

Leading final-round scores from the European Tour's Spanish Open at the Club de Campo in Madrid on Sunday (par 71/GBR & IRL unless stated):

262 - Jon Rahm (ESP) 66-67-63-66

267 - Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP) 66-65-70-66

269 - Samuel Del Val (ESP) 67-65-69-68

271 - Jeff Winther (DEN) 70-69-69-63, Joachim B. Hansen (DEN) 69-69-67-66, Adri Arnaus (ESP) 65-66-72-68

272 - Sergio Garcia (ESP) 69-69-69-65, Masahiro Kawamura (JPN) 70-67-68-67, Justin Harding (RSA) 69-72-64-67, Jason Scrivener (AUS) 67-68-68-69, Zander Lombard (RSA) 67-67-69-69

273 - Andrea Pavan (ITA) 66-75-67-65, Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR) 71-69-65-68, Jens Dantorp (SWE) 67-70-65-71

274 - James Morrison 70-70-69-65, Alexander Levy (FRA) 70-69-67-68

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