Wednesday, 11 October 2017
Jon Rahm  (Getty Images)
Jon Rahm (Getty Images)

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World Number Five Jon Rahm has his sights set on winning the Race to Dubai title and hopes to steal a march on his rivals with victory at this week's Italian Open.

Spaniard Rahm sits third in the rankings following a stellar start to life on the European Tour which has seen him taste victory at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation and finish joint third and second in the first two World Golf Championship events of the season.

Only Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and fellow countryman Sergio Garcia are above the 22 year old in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and Rahm is focused on finishing the season in the number one spot.

"It became a goal of mine after Ireland," said Rahm.

"Before that, I wasn't really anywhere in the Race to Dubai. I was up there after Mexico but after winning in Ireland, I really became conscious of the fact that I could win it.

"It became a goal of mine, especially once I learned that nobody since Seve (Ballesteros) in Spain has won it."

Rahm will get his opening round under way alongside Fleetwood and Garcia at 13.15 local time on Thursday, and he is looking forward to being in their company.

The course is fantastic. It's always great to come back to Europe and play all those traditional golf courses that I don't play in the States that often -  Jon Rahm

"Sergio and I get along great," added Rahm. "It's a true honour to be playing with him. He is the Masters Champion this year so it's even more of an honour to play with someone like Sergio and learn from him.

"And then Tommy, who is closer to my age, and is just a great guy. He's been playing some great golf and on top of that, he's won twice this year in Abu Dhabi and France.

"He's leading the Race to Dubai and he's playing some outstanding golf worldwide.

"He very, very much deserves to be in the number one spot right now and I'll be looking forward to playing with him."

Race to Dubai leader Fleetwood has also enjoyed a stunning 2017 and heads to Italy fresh from setting a new course record at Carnoustie during last week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Like Rahm, Fleetwood is hoping to get his hands on The Harry Vardon Trophy at the end of the campaign.

He said: "You’ve got your dreams and what you work for as well, and the Race to Dubai will be on that list.

"I don't know how many chances I will get of winning a Race to Dubai and this might be one of the best chances, so hopefully I can do that."

After tasting victory at the season's third Rolex Series event in Northern Ireland, Rahm is hoping to repeat the trick at Golf Club Milano this week.

He said: "Hopefully I can win another one.

"The course is fantastic. It's always great to come back to Europe and play all those traditional golf courses that I don't play in the States that often.

"Courses that are 60, 70, 80 or a hundred years old.

"It hasn't been altered much and it's beautiful to play, and it's really, really fun and I really enjoy it, so hopefully I can play some good golf."

A Rolex Series Event

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1HATTON, TyrrellENG18-21
T2FISHER, RossENG18-20
T2APHIBARNRAT, KiradechTHA18-20
4WALLACE, MattENG18-19
5FRASER, MarcusAUS18-18
T6HORSEY, DavidENG18-17

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