Jon Rahm confirms he will defend his Irish Open title

‘I experienced a part of myself which I didn’t know I had, so it was a lot of fun’

Jon Rahm after winning last year’s Irish Open. Photograph: Inpho

Jon Rahm after winning last year’s Irish Open. Photograph: Inpho

 

Reigning champion and world number three Jon Rahm has confirmed that he will be defending his Dubai Duty Free Irish Open title at Ballyliffin Golf Club this year.

This is the first time that the tournament has ever been held in Donegal and the Spaniard is relishing the opportunity to defend a title that means so much to him – as his maiden European Tour victory. Rahm is hoping to become the first player to successfully defend the title since Colin Montgomerie in 1997.

To do so though, he’ll have to beat tournament host Rory McIlroy who recently enjoyed a stunning victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Bay Hill.

Last year at Portstewart Rahm broke numerous tournament records with a six-stroke triumph courtesy of a remarkable final round 65 — which included a hole-out eagle on the fourth hole, followed closely by a streak of four successive birdies as well as another eagle.

The 23 year-old spoke candidly afterwards about his pride in emulating his hero Seve Ballesteros by winning in Ireland.

“It was extremely special last year,” said Rahm, who went on to win the European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai to become the first multiple Rolex Series event winner, and has already added a second US PGA Tour title to his burgeoning trophy cabinet this year.

“Not only was it my first European Tour victory, it was a Rolex Series event and I am a Rolex ambassador so it meant a lot in many ways.

“But it was also the first time I was leading or tied for the lead going into the final round and to perform the way I did was amazing, making a great par save on two and then holing out on four, on top of the display of golf I had after that.

“It’s really easy to get comfortable and hold on to the score but I just kept making birdies and hitting good shots and I experienced a part of myself which I didn’t know I had, so it was a lot of fun.

“It’s my first Ryder Cup year and I’m really excited to hopefully be on the team, I’m going to work hard to try and get on the team and I can’t wait to hopefully bring the cup back home to Europe.”

Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at www.europeantour.com/tickets.

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