Jon Rahm’s streak of top-10 finishes came to an end at four, but he kept up his scorching play with a tie for 15th at last week’s Italian Open.
The 22-year-old will be playing in his home country this week, though his hometown of Barrika in the north couldn’t be further from San Roque over 1,000 kilometers away in the south. Nonetheless, I don’t think he’ll be lacking in fan support as he’s represented the Spanish red and gold fabulously in his first calendar year as a professional.
He’s got it done on both the PGA Tour and European Tour, winning at the Farmers Insurance Open in February and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in July.
Rahm is all but a lock to make the cut this week; he’s only missed two in 23 starts this year and has made the weekend each start since the U.S. Open in June.
At 80th in strokes gained around-the-green on the PGA Tour last season, Rahm’s short game could cost him some shots. With that said, his touch has been improving as he gains experience.
Further, I like Rahm’s ability to change ball flights to help him in any scenario this week. If the winds are fluttering, he’s shown to have control over the three-quarter shots. If the weather’s benign, his usual high ball flight will help to hold Valderrama’s usually hard greens.
Rahm did not compete in last year’s Open de España and this will be his first competitive appearance at Valderrama. But when has a debut at a course stopped him before? With the weight of hosting and extra appearances preoccupying García, I’ve got Rahm claiming the trophy this week.