Monday 9 December 2019

Consistency of Rahm edges out Lowry for Euro Tour of Year honour

Jon Rahm. Photo: Getty Images
Jon Rahm. Photo: Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Jon Rahm's season-ending Dubai double helped him edge out Open champion Shane Lowry for the 2019 Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Year award.

A media panel selected the Spaniard (25) following a superb season that saw him notch three wins, two runner-up finishes and another three top-10 finishes from just 13 European Tour starts.

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The world number three, who also won the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic of New Orleans in partnership with Ryan Palmer in April, came ninth in the Masters, tied for third in the US Open and closed with a 62 to win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch just a week after finishing second in the Andalucía Masters.

He was runner-up to Danny Willett on his debut in the BMW PGA at Wentworth, successfully defended the Spanish Open title at Club de Campo and then won his second Rolex Series title of the year when he birdied the 72nd hole to claim the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai and the Race to Dubai title.

That dramatic win helped Rahm become the first Spaniard since six-time Order of Merit winner Seve Ballesteros to win the Vardon Trophy.

"To emulate another of Seve's achievements in winning this award is very humbling, and I'm so proud of what I have achieved this year," said Rahm.

Defend

"To win both the Irish Open and DP World Tour Championship for a second time, as well as defend the Open de España, were all incredible moments. But to finish the year as winner of the Race to Dubai is something I'm incredibly proud of achieving at this early stage in my career."

A spokesman for the selection panel explained that Lowry's "unforgettable" victory in The Open Championship at Royal Portrush was the performance of the year and "an iconic moment in our sport" but Rahm's "remarkably high standard of performance across the season tipped the scales in his favour".

Rahm defends his title in Tiger Woods' $3.5 million Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas this week but while there are no Irish entrants in the European Tour's Mauritius Open, Portmarnock's Conor Purcell (22) will be seeking more success in Australia, where he won the Australian Amateur title in January.

Meanwhile, Pádraig Harrington and his son Paddy, and Darren Clarke and son Tyrone will tee it up in the 20-team PNC Father Son Challenge at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando this weekend.

In amateur golf, the ILGU has confirmed that East Berkshire's Laura Webb will succeed Danielle McVeigh as captain of the Ireland women's team for 2020.

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