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Record-breaker Rahm successfully defends Spanish Open crown in Madrid

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Record-breaker Rahm successfully defends Spanish Open crown in Madrid
FILE PHOTO - European Tour - BMW PGA Championship - Wentworth Golf Club, Virginia Water, Britain - September 22, 2019 Spain's Jon Rahm celebrates finishing in second place. Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs   -   Copyright  PAUL CHILDS(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – World number five Jon Rahm of Spain carded a five-under 66 in the final round of the Spanish Open to finish with 22-under overall, winning by five shots to defend his crown in Madrid on Sunday.

The victory made Rahm the quickest Spaniard to win five European Tour titles in his 39th start — 10 fewer than former Ryder Cup captain Seve Ballestros, who has a record 50 tour titles to his name.

The 24-year-old sank an eagle on the par-five fourth and four more birdies, offset by a bogey on the 17th, to win his fifth title on the European Tour and his second of the year after clinching the Irish Open in July.

The final putt from less than a foot out drew loud cheers from the home crowd as Rahm also moved to the top of the Race to Dubai rankings.

“In front of a home crowd, it’s always really hard for me to keep everything under control and to play the weekend that I did for them, it’s always really fun,” an ecstatic Rahm said.

“I can’t wait to come back next year and hopefully do it three times. It was unlike anything else. Spanish crowds love golf, they love us coming back. It’s hard to believe how many people come out here.”

Rahm’s third round score of 63, which equalled the course record at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, had given him a five-shot lead and the 24-year-old maintained that overnight lead to finish above compatriot Rafa Bello Cabrera.

Spain’s Samuel del Val finished third, seven strokes behind, while three others — compatriot Adri Arnaus and Denmark’s Jeff Winther and Joachim Hansen — were tied for fourth a further two shots behind.

Sergio Garcia, who won the KLM Open in Amsterdam last month, could only finish tied-seventh — 10 shots off the lead.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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