Jon Rahm clips Seve Ballesteros’ 25-year-old mark, dominates in Spain
The patron saint of Spanish golf has three wins at the Spanish Open. Now, his most prodigious disciple has three, too.
Jon Rahm bludgeoned his way to his first victory in five months at the Open de Espana on Sunday, capping off a dominant week with a final-round 62 en route to a six-stroke win at the event. It was a fitting win in a home game for Rahm, whose family came in from nearby Biscay to cheer on his final round.
“My lowest round, my lowest score out here, it was pretty much a perfect week and the only thing that would make it better was if my wife and kids were here,” he said. “It was the first one, the newest one with Eneko so I’m glad that’s it’s certainly after each kid that I’ve won a tournament, but I have a lot of family here I don’t see throughout the year.”
But it is also a historic victory for Rahm, who has now won three of the last five years at the event, a stretch of dominance that brings him into the conversation with his countryman and childhood hero, Seve Ballesteros. With his victory on Sunday, Rahm matched the mark set some 25 years ago by Ballesteros, two shy of the all-time record for Spanish Open wins, which belongs to Angel de la Torre.
The Spanish Open was Ballesteros’ final professional victory in 1995, the exclamation point on a 90-win professional career. Rahm’s victory on Sunday was his 15th pro win with weeks still to go before his 28th birthday.
“It was the goal coming in,” Rahm admitted. “Seve is a great hero of mine and to do something he took his whole career to do in just a few years is quite humbling.”
Rahm finished the tournament at a whopping 25 under, six strokes ahead of Mathieu Pavon. His eight-birdie, one-eagle, one-bogey Sunday was capped with back-to-back birdies to close out the tournament, including a hands-raised fist-pump on the 18th green.
“It’s emotional,” Rahm said. “Going up the 18th hole I knew what was about to happen and to get it done like that, I can’t describe it.”
In many ways, Ballesteros deserves credit for Rahm’s introduction to the game of golf, which came shortly after Ballesteros captained the Europeans to a triumphant victory on home soil at Valderrama. Now, the two men are linked forever by more than just that — sharing the same number of wins in their country’s home open.
“I’ve spoken many times about how that 1997 Ryder Cup and Seve making the win that week, some friends of my dad’s started me playing golf,” Rahm said. “Otherwise, who knows what else I’d be? I’m here because of that alone, and everything else is down to the path that he’s paved for so many of us.”