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Rahm ready for DDF Irish Open return & Lahinch debut

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*Jon Rahm. Photograph: Getty Images

World number 11, Jon Rahm is looking forward to getting reacquainted with the Irish crowds when he travels to Lahinch for the DDF Irish Open this July.

It will be the Spaniard’s third appearance in The Irish Open having claimed a record-breaking victory in his 2017 debut with a 24 under par total, the lowest winning score in the 92 year history of the event. He secured a top five finish last year.

However it will be the twenty four year old’s first time playing in Munster and on the west coast of Ireland. He joins a strong field which includes Tommy Fleetwood, Louis Oosthuizen, Shane Lowry, Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, all of whom will tee off at Lahinch Golf Club, from July 4-7.

“Winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open was very special for me,” said Rahm, who has three wins on both the European Tour – including two Rolex Series titles – and the US PGA Tour.

His memories of the tournament are all the more special because of the relationship he has with the supporters. “To perform the way I did and shoot 24 under par and especially the way it happened on that final round, with that magnificent hole-out on four which was arguably one of the best shots of my career, and the finish the way I did . With how much fun I had it was definitely special.

“What made it all better was the Irish crowds, they were some of the best crowds I’ve ever played in front of – for both years, two years in a row. I’m very excited to go back there and to Lahinch. I’ve never been on that golf course but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. It’s always one of the most enjoyable weeks I have on tour so hopefully I can have a good showing again. The support I get over there is unlike any other, comparable to what I get in Spain and I love going back.”

Last year, Rahm gave the Irish fans plenty to cheer about over the weekend at Ballyliffin, carding a round of 67 on Saturday and a remarkable 66 on the final day – which included four successive birdies to finish.

The Basque player came within two strokes of a play-off spot having started the week with a two over par 74. That preceded one of the most dramatic finales in the tournament’s 91-year history, as Russell Knox holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to clinch a place in a play-off alongside New Zealander Ryan Fox. The Scot then sank an almost identical putt on the first play-off hole to seal his maiden Rolex Series title and send the huge Irish crowds into raptures.

Event organisers have said Lahinch’s location on the Wild Atlantic Way will “provide a festival atmosphere unlike any other”. Tickets are currently on sale online at www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com and begin at €23 for Pro-Am Wednesday, with single tickets for Thursday or Friday costing €30 and day tickets for each weekend day costing €35 each. An adult season ticket, which covers five days of golf from Wednesday to Sunday, begins at a special price of just €110.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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