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Resolute Rahm wins on home soil in Madrid

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A late error from Nacho Elvira handed Jon Rahm his fifth professional victory at the Open de España at the Centro Nacional de Golf. What happened at the Open de Espana?

There has been plenty of talk ever since Jon Rahm broke onto the scene that the Spaniard’s tantrums on the golf course may hold him back from brilliance.

This was a tournament that could have quite easily got away from the 23-year-old. After opening up a two-shot lead halfway through the round, Nacho Elvira started to make a run at the favourite. Back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 had the two Spaniards level, and when Rahm stepped onto the tee at the brutally difficult 17th, it looked as though he was about to throw away the tournament.

A slightly pulled tee shot only just skirted the water hazard and somehow found dry land. Of course, Rahm being Rahm, it was the wind that was at fault, and not the result of a shot that was plagued with danger and indeed pressure.

But how many times have we seen acts of petulance followed by moments of brilliance in Rahm’s assault to the top of the game in the past year?

He proved yet again here that he doesn’t let his temperament get to him. A beautifully played flop shot from the thick rough settled only a few feet from the hole, which he duly brushed in for a sensational par-save.

Now the pressure was on Elvira, who played a similar shot to the one of Rahm’s at 17, but this time it kicked into the water. The chip for a par burned the lip, and he missed the short putt for a bogey – all but handing Rahm the title.

Talking point

Does Rahm’s attitude hold him back? Again, we saw moments of madness from the Spaniard this week – at one point on Friday he was angered by the home crowd clapping him after he missed a putt.

But does it actually affect him? He has five wins in 45 worldwide starts as a professional – that’s remarkable. A major championship is surely imminent.

Last week Mark Townsend and James Savage discussed if the Spaniard needs to grow up if he’s to have major success.


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