Open de Espana: Jon Rahm wins and Ben Coley selection Nacho Elvira is third

Golf
Jon Rahm with the Open de Espana trophy
Jon Rahm with the Open de Espana trophy

World number four Jon Rahm hit a five-under-par final round of 67 to win the Open de Espana in Madrid.

Final leaders

-20 Jon Rahm

-18 Paul Dunne

-17 Nacho Elvira

-16 George Coetzee

Day four report

World number four Jon Rahm fired a five-under-par final round of 67 to win the Open de Espana in Madrid.

Rahm became the sixth Spaniard to win the tournament since it became a European Tour event in 1972, finishing two shots clear of Ireland's Paul Dunne.

It was the 23-year-old's first appearance at the Open de Espana and his third victory on the European Tour.

"I'm just happy to play the way I did and to get it done," Rahm told Sky Sports after his third European Tour victory.

"It's probably the hardest Sunday I've ever had to play because the amount of crowds I was carrying.

"I saw the willingness and the feeling that everybody had to want me to win.

"They were pushing so hard and I felt that. As a golfer it's hard to deal with the public's emotions, so I tried to isolate myself and that's perhaps why I didn't play my best golf.

"I've been blessed to be national champion with the Spanish Golf Federation many times, European champion and world champion representing them.

"So being able to win this as a pro and do this for them and the Spanish people feels great."

Dunne led by one shot overnight and a birdie on the 18th gave him a final-round 71 and outright second place.

Spain's Nacho Elvira had seemed well placed to challenge Rahm, but he sent his tee shot on the short 17th into the water and paid the price with a double bogey.

Elvira provided profit for followers of our tips as a 125/1 each-way selection from our golf expert Ben Coley in his pre-tournament preview.

South African George Coetzee surged 31 places through the field to finish fourth with the best round of the day, a 63.

Day three report

Ben Coley's 125/1 tip Nacho Elvira heads into the final round of the Open de Espana just one shot adrift of leader Paul Dunne.

Elvira birdied the last to complete a round of 66, matching his Friday score to move to 16-under and poised on the heels of Dunne.

The leader shot 68, his worst round of the week, but will have been relieved to hold onto his place at the top of the leaderboard after finding water at 17, where he did well to match Elvira's bogey.

Like the Spaniard, Dunne birdied the last to end on a high note and restore the gap to Jon Rahm, the home favourite who lurks ominously on 15-under, just two back.

Rahm made just one bogey in a round of 66 which saw him move alongside Henric Sturehed, the rookie Swede who made eight birdies to maintain his hopes of a sensational victory, having been among the outsiders prior to the tournament.

Andy Sullivan added a Saturday 65 to his best-of-the-day 63 on Friday and the Englishman now sits alone in sixth, no small feat considering he opened with a nightmare 75 and is the only player who started in that fashion to have progressed to the weekend.

Brett Rumford is the other in the thick of things, the Australian carding a solid 68 to move to 14-under and three adrift.

Day two report

Paul Dunne asked a big question of pre-tournament favourite Jon Rahm as he posted the halfway target at the Open de Espana.

On a day of brighter skies and lower scoring in Madrid, Dunne carded a second-round 65 to go with his opening 66 and reach 13-under, ensuring that Rahm would start his second round eight shots off the pace.

Rahm made immediate inroads with an opening eagle and eventually halved the deficit with a round of 68 to reach nine-under, although he walked off the 18th hole frustrated at having failed to convert an eagle chance from inside 10 feet.

Jon Rahm moved into contention on Friday
Jon Rahm moved into contention on Friday

Dunne made five birdies over his opening 10 holes and, after giving one back, birdied three in succession to reach 13-under with two to play.

A three-putt bogey at the par-four eighth - his 17th - saw Dunne's lead cut, but he responded with a birdie at his final hole to remain clear of the field.

Ben Coley's 125/1 tip Nacho Elvira made an eagle and four birdies to move to 10-under and tied for second along with Brett Rumford and England's Callum Shinkwin, while the superbly-haired Robert Rock birdied four of his final six holes to reach nine-under.

The round of the morning belonged to another Englishman in Andy Sullivan, who bounced back from a nightmare finish to round one with a sensational 63, which included eagles at the fifth and 13th holes.

It was then matched by Germany's Marcel Schneider, who played eight holes in just 24 strokes as he went on a sensational early run, before sealing his best ever European Tour round with an eagle and a birdie on his second nine.

Dunne heads into the weekend as the man to catch, but home hopes will be high despite Rahm appearing agitated for much of his second round, which ended on a high with a closing birdie to move to within four of the leader.

Day one report

Pre-tournament favourite Jon Rahm is one shot off the lead in the Open de Espana after an opening 67 in Madrid.

Rahm finished fourth behind Patrick Reed in the Masters last week and continued his excellent form with four birdies and an eagle in a five-under-par round, which left him one off the lead held by Marc Warren and Paul Dunne.

It was a slow start for Rahm, who was level par through eight following a bogey at the par-three 17th having started on the 10th, but an eagle at the 18th hole sparked him into life.

Further birdies at the third, fifth and seventh made for a good day's work on his return to Centro Nacional de Golf, where he'd studied and practiced for two years before jetting off to college at Arizona State.

Sky Bet cut Rahm to 9/4 for the title, which would be his second in succession on the European Tour having landed the DP World Tour Championship in November.

Warren's best effort of 2017 came in neighbouring Portugal, and he showed signs of that form in an opening 66 which included birdies on his final three holes.

Ben Coley's 150/1 tip Matthias Schwab is level with Rahm after six birdies and just one mistake saw the talented young Austrian continue his excellent form, while big-hitting Qualifying School graduate Jonathan Thomson signed off with eagle as he too shot 67.

Playing alongside Rahm, Andrew Johnston made a solid start as he looks for back-to-back victories in the event as seven birdies helped him to a round of 68.

"It was good," Rahm said. "To be honest, I played a lot better than I expected, especially off the tee. My driver was really good today - the driver alone set up two birdies on 13 and on seven.

"Things like that are obviously a bonus. Too bad that I couldn't make a couple of putts but I guess it's happening to everyone, the greens are not easy to read. Still, five under par is fine and hopefully I can keep playing the same way to the green and make some putts for the rest of the week."

Dunne was the star among the afternoon wave, matching Warren's round to share the lead.

The Irishman has hit form lately, securing back-to-back top-10 finishes in the United States, and a closing eagle boosted hopes of a second European Tour title.

"I find the greens quite tricky to read, especially on the front nine, so it was nice to get a couple of putts to go in on the back nine and climb up the leaderboard," Dunne, who won the British Masters last year, told Sky Sports.

English youngsters Aaron Rai and Callum Shinkwin shot five-under 67s to join Rahm in a big share of second which also includes Sweden's Alex Bjork.

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