Jon Rahm showed his class by holding off a high-class field to claim the DP World Tour Championship. The Spaniard made a slow start to the tournament on the Earth Course in Dubai, but improved as the round wore on and after hitting the front on Saturday he kept his composure to hold off the likes of Alex Noren, Tyrrell Hatton and Rory McIlroy to take the title for a third time.
Jon Rahm shook off some poor play off the tee to claim victory at the DP World Tour Championship for the third time.
The Spaniard has had a roller coaster year, as he struggled in the early part of the season, moved house and became a father for the second time.
Despite struggling in three of the four majors, he had a chance at the US Open but fell away in the final round, Rahm’s game has been trending in the right direction for months.
He won his home Spanish Open in October when a cold putter finally warmed up, and his iron play and short game helped him fend off a star-studded field at the Earth Course.
“Last time I won here I finished at 15-under, had a heck of a front nine and shot 20-under to win,” Rahm said after closing with a 67. “I like this course and it likes me, so hopefully this is the third of many more.”
On his poor play off the tee, Rahm said: “I can’t believe I shot 12-under with how badly I hit it off the tee at the weekend.
“I was just able to manage well and a lot of the times when I pitched out my wedge play saved me.
“I don’t know my stats on the greens, but inside 10 feet I was really solid.
I just stayed aggressive and picked my battles and I think I shot about as low as I could on the weekend.”
- Jon Rahm, 20-under
T2. Alex Noren, 18-under
T2. Tyrrell Hatton, 18-under
- Rory McIlroy, 16-under
T5. Tommy Fleetwood, 13-under
T5. Matt Fitzpatrick, 13-under
Rahm, who moved to the top of the leaderboard with a 65 on Saturday, showed his class on Sunday.
His driving is normally a strong suit, but the go-to baby fade was not performing and he found the rough on plenty of occasions.
But the rest of his game was red hot. Rahm birdied his opening three holes despite wayward drives, and shook off a bogey on four.
Birdies look good on the scorecard, but pars can be as important to maintain momentum. Rahm produced one of the pars of the year on nine.
A poor drive was followed by a bad second which left him with a long bunker shot for his third. He resisted the temptation to hit a splash shot, instead electing for a chunk and run and he played it to perfection and knocked in the six-footer for par.
Alex Noren, Tyrrell Hatton and Rory McIlroy came at Rahm on the back nine, but birdies on 13 and 15 secured him a three-shot cushion
He had a two-shot lead on the 18th tee and a wayward drive to the left set nerves jangling. His second shot from the scrub carried the water by roughly a yard, but it was enough to get him to the winning line and a third DP World Tour Championship title.
While the title belonged to Rahm, McIlroy was also celebrate as his fourth-placed finish secured him the Harry Vardon Trophy for the DP World Tour’s golfer of the year.