World number five Jon Rahm will be one of the star attractions as he defends his home title at the Open de Espana in Madrid this week.
Rahm followed in some famous Spanish footsteps as he joined the likes of Seve Ballesteros and Sergio Garcia as a winner of the event when he triumphed in the capital last year.
The 24-year-old is now hoping to retain a title for the first time as the event moves to the Club de Campo Villa, following his two-shot win over Paul Dunne at Centro Nacional in April 2018.
Rahm told europeantour.com: “There are some weeks when I really want to win. I’d love to be a multiple winner of the Open de Espana, and I’d love this to be the first time I successfully defend a title.
“It won’t be more pressure than last year. That was the first time I played the event, I was fourth in the world, I had just played well at Augusta.
Rahm will tee off alongside countrymen Rafa Cabrera Bello and Adri Arnaus on Thursday while Garcia, Alvaro Quiros and veterans Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez are among the other Spanish entrants.
More to follow…
Danny Willett claimed his seventh European Tour title and a first on home soil after overcoming Spain’s Jon Rahm in a final-round duel at the BMW PGA Championship.
Willett carded a closing 67 at Wentworth to finish 20 under par, three shots ahead of fellow overnight leader Rahm, with South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout a shot further back.
Rory McIlroy, who made the cut with nothing to spare, added a 67 to his third round of 65 to finish in a tie for eighth, his 16th top 10 in 21 events this season.
After missing the cut at Wentworth last May, Willett was ranked 462nd in the world as he struggled with a loss of form precipitated by a number of injuries. The 31-year-old from Sheffield will be just outside the top 30 when the rankings are updated on Monday.
“It doesn’t get much better than this, does it?” Willett told Sky Sports. “It was a battle out there, with myself more than anyone else, and it’s nice to come through the other side.”
Willett and Rahm began the day tied for the lead and the Englishman struck the first blows with birdies on the second and third before Rahm made a gain on the fourth to halve his deficit.
A birdie on the eighth restored Willett’s two-shot lead but he looked set to surrender it after hitting a tree with his recovery shot following a wild drive on the 11th and then gouging his third shot out of the heather into a bunker.
The former Masters champion appeared to have hurt his right wrist in the process but, after finding the green with his fourth, he holed from 40 feet to drop just one shot.
Rahm bogeyed the 12th after misjudging his pitch to the green and seeing the ball roll back towards him, but the Ryder Cup star bounced back immediately to birdie the next.
However, after debating which club to hit on the par-three 14th, Rahm chose the wrong option to come up short of the green in a bunker and was unable to get up and down for par.
Both players came up just short of the green in two on the par-five 17th and Willett struck the killer blow by chipping to within inches of the hole.
Rahm’s chip ran five feet past and although he holed the putt for a birdie, Willett tapped in to take a two-shot lead to the 18th tee and any doubt about the result was removed when Rahm found the water short of the green with his approach.
Provided by Press Association Sport
Paul Casey claimed his first European Tour title in five years after coming out on top of a congested leaderboard at the Porsche European Open.
The 42-year-old was joined by Austrian Bernd Wiesberger and overnight leaders Robert MacIntyre and Bernd Ritthammer at 12 under par with three holes remaining during an enthralling finale at Green Eagle Golf Courses.
And Casey’s experience came to the fore after a stunning birdie putt from 35 feet at the 16th proved to be the turning point as he carded a birdie-birdie-par finish to claim his 14th European Tour victory in Hamburg – his first since the KLM Open in 2014.
“I get emotional at every victory but this year has been so fantastic,” Casey told europeantour.com, who dedicated the trophy to former winner Gordon Brand Jnr following his death at the age of 60 last month.
“This is an incredibly prestigious trophy that has a lot of history to it on the European Tour so I’m over the moon. I’m happy to be the Porsche European Open champion.”
Casey started the day one shot behind the Scot and Ritthammer at eight under and recorded his best front nine of the week of 31 to move in contention, with MacIntyre still maintaining the one-shot advantage at the turn.
The 23-year-old’s only blemish at the 12th left the door open for Casey, who replied with a birdie at the 13th, to get his nose in front before moving back ahead at the 16th following a four-way tie for the lead.
Casey could only par the last to give MacIntyre and Ritthammer hope of a potential play-off.
But the Scot’s eagle putt slid by the hole before the home favourite’s birdie attempt pulled up just short as the world number 17 became the third successive Englishman to win the event after Jordan Smith and Richard McEvoy.
Provided by Press Association Sport