Rahm targeting home victory at Open de España
Madrid, April 10: World Number Four Jon Rahm has his sights set on securing a first professional title on home soil when he returns to Centro Nacional de Golf for this week’s Open de España, one of the oldest and most celebrated tournaments in Continental Europe.
As the Race to Dubai returns to Europe for the first time in the 2018 season, the 23 year old has arrived in Madrid to the home of the Royal Spanish Federation, fresh from finishing fourth at the Masters Tournament last week, and is now hoping to join up his amateur and professional careers by adding his name to the list of Open de España winners.
The two-time European Tour winner utilised the facilities as a junior player, combining his studies and golf during a stellar amateur career, before going on to represent Arizona State University in the American collegiate system and win 11 titles – reaching World Amateur Number One along the way.
Rahm achieved his best finish at a Major Championship so far at Augusta National last, firing a closing 69 on Sunday to end the week four shots behind winner Patrick Reed, with the Spaniard already proving he can perform on the big stage, claiming two Rolex Series wins last season en route to finishing third in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
He is joined in the field by 24 of his countrymen, including Ryder Cup star Rafa Cabrera Bello and four-time European Tour winner Pablo Larrazábal, who will all tee it up in the capital ahead of the 91st staging of the event.
“I can’t explain it. I am blessed to be able to say I am Spanish Golf Federation National Champion for the ages of under 16, 18, 21, and all ages. I think it’s four or five different categories that I am champion of and some of them a couple of times,” said Rahm.
“I took a lot of pride in winning those championships and it’s not easy. They were always very disputed and on the pro level it was sad for me not being able to play it last year because there wasn’t any. But for this year to be a part of it and know all the Spanish legends have won it – I would love to add my name it.
“To be able to link my pro and amateur career to get this final stamp would be amazing. There is no better place like somewhere like this because I spent two years of my life practising on this range and golf course, so hopefully I can get it done this week.
“I would be a special moment because this is where I developed most of my golf skills when I was in Barrika, Spain I could only go the golf course a couple of times a week, but when I was here I was able to practise a lot more and meet some of my teammates and become really good friends.
“It was such a great two years of my life golf-wise so to be able to close her out this way would be something amazing. The pride and joy I would get to be able to win any event, but something at such a special place like this with the eyes of the Spanish Golf Federation in Spain with the eyes of my fans here would be amazing, hopefully with a lot of family members coming out.”
Pablo Larrazábal is also looking forward to playing his home Open: “Very exciting to play the Spanish Open again. We the players, the Spanish crowds and Spanish people have to thank the European Tour for believing that the Spanish Open can have a future, by bringing it in one more time.”
“Hopefully the weather gets better and the crowds can come in t watch. They can take the train, they can take the metro. The metro is 400 yards from the entrance of the golf course, it’s very easy going from anywhere in Madrid to Centro Nacional.
“It was great before the break. I played great in India and I played good in Qatar, so hopefully we keep the momentum.”