Rahm wins it all in Dubai

Jon Rahm was crowned European Number One with a dramatic victory at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai as the 2019 Race to Dubai went down to the final hole of the season at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Jon Rahm

The Spaniard arrived at the eighth Rolex Series event of the season as one of five players who could be crowned Europe's Number One and held off the challenge of fellow contender Tommy Fleetwood to seal a one shot victory.

He had led by six shots after seven holes but Fleetwood birdied three of his last four in a 65 to set the target at 18 under and as Rahm stood on the 18th tee, the whole season was heading to a play-off.

Rahm hit a perfect drive up the last but found the sand with his second before putting a sublime bunker shot to four feet and rolling home for a birdie and the Harry Vardon Trophy.

A closing 68 saw Rahm finish the week at 19 under, with Fleetwood as his nearest challenger and Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera at 17 under after a 70.

Rahm takes home not just the US$3million world record first prize but a $2million bonus for topping the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex, with Fleetwood, Bernd Wiesbgerger - who led the Rankings coming into the week - Shane Lowry and Mathew Fitzpatrick also taking home bonuses for finishing in the top five.

The first of Rahm's six European Tour wins came in the Rolex Series in 2017 en route to the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award and he now has four in the prestigious blue riband events, with two victories at the season finale and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open sitting alongside his two triumphs in his national open.

Robert MacIntyre won the 2019 rookie race as he finished with a 69 to join an illustrious list of Scottish winners including Sam Torrance, Sandy Lyle and Colin Montgomerie.

Rahm's victory at the Mutuactivos Open de España at the start of October was his last worldwide start and after a six week break he now has three wins in a season that sees him become just the second Spaniard to be Europe's Number One after the great Seve Ballesteros.

"It's really so hard to believe that some of the greatest champions in European golf and Spanish golf haven't been able to accomplish what I have in just three years," he said. "That's what I can't really put my mind into.

"Sergio (Garcia) has been a great Spanish champion for years, Major winner. Ollie (José María Olazábal), two-time Major Championship winner. Miguel Ángel (Jiménez) has done a great job as well. Alvaro Quiros has won this event.

"So many great players throughout the history of Spain that have had a chance and they didn't get it done. It's just hard to put that in perspective to know that since Seve, I'm the next one to get it done. I can put the words but it just doesn't feel like it's true. It's hard to believe.

"Seve wasn't the calmest out there, he had some passion. So did Ollie, they both do and there's nothing wrong with that.

"Some of the greatest champions in all sports are passionate people that show frustration when they have it and they show their happiness when they do have it, as well. I don't think it's a bad thing. In fact, I believe it's a good thing because that's what got me through today on the last few holes."

Rahm quickly hit the front on his own with a 30 foot putt on the first and he got up and down to birdie the second, with the lead staying at one as joint overnight leader Lorenzo-Vera also took advantage of the par five.

A missed green from Lorenzo-Vera at the third extended the lead and when Rahm holed a very fast 62 foot monster on the fifth, the advantage was three shots.

Rahm took the sensible approach on the par three sixth to avoid flirting with the water but he was unstoppable and made his 30 foot birdie putt to lead by four.

A 20 footer on the seventh brought a third birdie in a row and Lorenzo-Vera failed to get up and down from the sand to make a it a six shot lead.

Fleetwood birdied the second but gave the shot straight back before hitting a stunner into the fifth and birdieing the eighth.

Rahm found an unplayable lie off the tee at the eighth and three putted the ninth, with Lorenzo-Vera putting his approach to four feet on the eighth as the advantage dropped to three.

An excellent second from the woodchips at the tenth had the lead back at four but Fleetwood was stalking, holing a long putt on the 12th and making the most of the 14th.

Rahm failed to get up and down at the 13th and while both he and Lorenzo-Vera made the most of the 14th, a three putt from the leader led to another bogey and the advantage was down to one.

Fleetwood's putter was on fire and the Englishman holed long putts on the 15th and 17th to join Lorenzo-Vera, before an exquisite chip on the last had him alongside Rahm, who produced that remarkable finish of his own.

World Number Two Rory McIlroy finished seven shots off the lead, one clear of defending champion Danny Willett and two ahead of Sergio Garcia, Tom Lewis and Thomas Pieters.

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