Jon Rahm – Getty Images
Spain’s Jon Rahm has won both the Race to Dubai and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, a birdie at the final hole enough to edge him one shot clear of Tommy Fleetwood who had thrown out all stops with five birdies in his last seven holes to just fall short.
Rahm not only secures the largest first prize in tournament golf (€3 million) but he will move to number 3 in the world ranking behind only Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy.
“Man, you dream of making birdies on 18 to win a tournament,” said Rahm. “And how I was playing early on, I was hoping not to need that, but it happened, and I came through when I needed it and really proud of myself for that.
“I’ve thought about it (winning the Race to Dubai) all week. I’ve thought about it the last two hours. I’ve thought about it as soon as I made the putt. But it still hasn’t processed in my mind. It’s a thought in there it still has not been internalised.
“It’s really so hard to believe that some of the greatest champions in European golf and Spanish golf haven’t been able to accomplish what I have in just three years. That’s what I can’t really put my mind into.
“Sergio has been a great Spanish champion for years, a major winner. Ollie, two-time major championship winner. Miguel Angel Iimenex has done a great job, as well. Alvaro Quiros has won this event. So many great players throughout the history of Spain that have had a chance and they didn’t get it done.
“It’s just hard to put that in perspective to know that since Seve, I’m the next one to get it done. I mean, I can put the words, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s true. It’s hard to believe.”
Rahm went into the final round in a share of the lead with Frenchman Mike Lorenzo Vera, but he pulled six shots clear after seven holes. The 25-year old dropped consecutive shots on the eighth and ninth holes and his lead was further eroded on the back nine as Fleetwood finished with five birdies in his final seven holes to sign for a 65 and set the target of 18 under par.
That meant Rahm, who had posted two birdies and two bogeys after the turn, then had to birdie the last hole for victory to avoid a winner-takes-all play-off with Fleetwood to decide both the tournament and the Race to Dubai. He duly held his nerve with a superb bunker shot to four feet before rolling in the putt for a 68 to finish on 19 under par and claim the €3million first prize, becoming just the second Spaniard after Seve Ballesteros to be crowned Europe’s Number One.
Joint 54-hole leader Lorenzo-Vera secured third place another shot behind Fleetwood with Rory McIlroy another five shots away in 4th place.
Australia’s Jason Scrivener completed a great finish to the season when he produced the round of the day (65) to jump 19 places to share 10th place this week and finish in 32nd place in the Race to Dubai Rankings.
Scrivener’s last three European Tour starts have yielded close to A$800,000 for the 30-year old West Australian.
Scott Hend was the other Australian to make it into the select field but finished in a share of last place in the 50 man field.
The European Tour’s new season begins this coming week at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.