Rahm wins Hero World Chal­lenge

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT -

Jon Rahm says a putting tip last Au­gust from tour­na­ment host Tiger Woods helped the Spa­niard to storm his way to a four-shot suc­cess at the Hero World Chal­lenge on Sun­day.

Rahm, 24, was never chal­lenged over the fi­nal round, shoot­ing a bo­gey-free 65 for a 20-un­der par to­tal on the Al­bany course.

The win is Rahm’s third suc­cess this sea­son and a sev­enth vic­tory in his short two-year pro ca­reer and in the process sees Rahm move to a ca­reer high No. 6 on the world rank­ings.

Rahm had shared the lead on both day two and day three and capped his clos­ing round with three birdies in four holes from the sixth. Last Septem­ber, Rahm was drawn in the Ry­der Cup Sun­day sin­gles against boy­hood idol Woods and de­liv­ered Europe their much-needed first point with two and one tri­umph.

Now Rahm has his name on Woods’ Hero World Chal­lenge tro­phy. “That Sun­day with Tiger is one of the most emo­tional, most im­por­tant mo­ments in my golf ca­reer,” said Rahm.

“I started cry­ing when I was shak­ing his hand be­cause that meant so much to me to play against Tiger Woods.

“A cou­ple of months later to win his event – his Foun­da­tion’s event along with Hero, this is re­ally spe­cial.”

And it was the putting tip on the prac­tice green at East Lake that has now sees Rahm be­come the first Span­ish win­ner of the Hero World Chal­lenge.

“When we were at East Lake Tiger was putting next to me. I just can’t putt on Ber­muda as I had grown up in Spain on poa an­nua,” said Rahm.

“Tiger kind of laughed and said ‘it’s all about feel out there’. In pre­sent­ing me the tro­phy

he said, ‘Hey, that’s a pretty good per­for­mance from some­one

who can’t putt on Ber­muda greens.’”

Amer­i­can Tony Finau holed a dra­matic 10-footer for birdie at the last in a score of 69 for sec­ond place at 16-un­der and in the process deny­ing Justin Rose from re­turn­ing to World No. 1.

Rose, who ea­gled 15 in a last round 65, had been shar­ing sec­ond place in 15-un­der par and the as­sur­ance of again be­com­ing World No. 1 only for Finau to pull the rug out from un­der the English­man.

“It’s not a huge goal for me to be No. 1, but when you have these op­por­tu­ni­ties you want to take them,” said Rose.

And Woods rounded-off his full-sea­son re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion with a tired-look­ing 73 to fin­ish 17th in the 18-player field.

FULL YEAR FOR WOODS

“The en­tire year has been amaz­ing and I’ve just been so blessed to have the op­por­tu­nity,” said Woods.

“To come from where I came from last year at this point to have the abil­ity to ac­tu­ally play and com­pete again in the game and do it con­sis­tently is quite amaz­ing.”

“The de­sire hasn’t changed. It’s just the body is some­times un­will­ing to re­spond to what the mind wants,” the 14-times ma­jor cham­pion told Golf Chan­nel.

“That’s just part of the in­juries I’ve had and the age­ing process and try­ing to deal with that and com­pete.” Woods was then headed to his pri­vate jet to Los An­ge­les to board a Qan­tas flight to Mel­bourne and ar­riv­ing to­day for a three-day Pres­i­dents Cup in­spec­tion and pro­mo­tion of the event be­ing staged later next year on the famed Royal Mel­bourne course. Woods, as the USA Team cap­tain, is due to host a press con­fer­ence on course Wed­nes­day in Mel­bourne.

FI­NAL SCORES

268-Jon Rahm (ESP) 71-63-69-65 272-Tony Finau 72-64-67-69 273-Justin Rose (ENG) 70-7068-65

274-Hen­rik Sten­son (SWE) 6866-69-71

275-Patrick Cant­lay 65-70-76-64, Rickie Fowler 72-67-67-69 276-Dustin John­son 68-67-72-69 277-Alex Noren (SWE) 69-69-7069, Xan­der Schauf­fele 73-68-6670, Gary Wood­land 72-66-67-72 278-Patrick Reed 65-77-66-70 280-Bryson DeCham­beau 70-7171-68, Justin Thomas 70-70-7070, Bubba Wat­son 69-73-69-69 282-Kee­gan Bradley 71-69-72-70 283-Ja­son Day (AUS) 71-72-70-70 287-Tiger Woods 73-69-72-73 288-Hideki Mat­suyama (JAP) 74-68-71-75.

(Getty Im­ages/AFP)

Jon Rahm of Spain poses with the tro­phy af­ter win­ning the Hero World Chal­lenge at Al­bany, Ba­hamas.

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