Rahm holds off Dunne to win Spanish Open

Florence Fletcher
April 16, 2018

Jon Rahm is making a nice habit of pulling off remarkable feats.

Jon Rahm delighted the crowd at the Open de Espana on Sunday by claiming a two-shot victory on home soil after Nacho Elvira fell away.

On the final day in Madrid, Rahm overhauled Paul Dunne - who had led at the end of each of the first three rounds - with a five-under-par 67 to clinch his third European Tour title by two strokes.

"When I chose your decision in the future direct from Augusta rsquo & it wouldn;t be to show up and wander around, " I wished to get that particular tournament", Rahm told reporters.

Bidding to become the first wire-to-wire victor since Neil Coles in 1973, the Greystones star (25) had to make a 10-footer for birdie at 18th just to finish two shots behind the conquering home hero.

"I've been blessed to be national champion from 16 to all ages in Spain", he added.

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Dunne bogeyed 14 but regained the shot with a birdie on 15 before securing second on his own with a 72nd hole birdie and a 23rd birdie over the four days. There, he escaped with a par after nearly sending his tee shot into the water, the ball just holding up in the rough.

Elvira handed the title to Rahm when he hit his tee shot into the water at the 17th and made a double bogey just moments after the champion's tee shot hung up on the bank, allowing him to save what turned out to be a crucial par.

Rahm (23) showed he was a special talent when winning two Rolex Series events a year ago - the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Dunne also birdied the last to beat Elvira by one, with South Africa's Gerry Coetzee finishing fourth a further shot back after his 63 equalled the lowest round of the week.

"It's been fantastic", Rahm noted.

"This is the hardest Sunday I have ever had to play". I felt that. And it was hard to deal with. "They payed a huge part, I came for them mainly so I'm just glad I can win this one for the Spanish people".

Dunne, the British Masters champion, was "disappointed" to miss out on a second European Tour victory but, at the same time, expressed his delight for the victor. "I saw the willingness and the feeling everybody had". The win was Rahm's third on the European Tour and fifth worldwide since the start of 2017.

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