Red-hot Rahm boosts Ryder Cup hopes
World Number Four Jon Rahm has enhanced his aspirations for a Ryder Cup debut at Le Golf National in September with a fine victory at the Open de España.
The 23 year old secured an emotional win at Centro Nacional de Golf as he became the sixth Spaniard to triumph at his home Open following a final round 67. That followed a fourth placed finish at the Masters Tournament, strengthening his grip on a place in Thomas Bjørn’s 12-man team for Paris while Ireland’s Paul Dunne, who finished two shots back, is now seventh in the European Points list.
Ryder Cup stalwart Ian Poulter, who snatched a late place at the Masters Tournament following his play-off triumph at the Houston Open on the US PGA Tour earlier this month, was in contention for a second victory of the season at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina as he approached the back nine just one shot off the lead.
The 42 year old eventually finished tied seventh but still climbed to eighth in the World Points List, leapfrogging countryman Matt Fitzpatrick who tied for 14th place on eight under par at the same tournament.
Englishman Tyrrell Hatton still leads the way on the European Points list, whilst Justin Rose, who has competed in four previous Ryder Cups, occupies second spot. Ross Fisher, another Englishman, makes up the top four along with Open de España winner Rahm.
Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Swede Alex Noren all enjoyed a week’s break from their busy schedules but retain their place in the automatic qualification standings on the World Points list.
The top four players on both points lists automatically qualify for a place on captain Thomas Bjørn’s 12-man team, with the Dane permitted to choose a further four wildcards.
Attention turns to the Trophée Hassan II this week with 2016 Ryder Cup rookies Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood, 2010 Ryder Cup winner Edoardo Molinari and 2016 Masters Tournament champion Danny Willett all in the field.