It was another busy week for competitive golf across the globe, with both the Maritius Open and the Hero World Challenge taking place.
Hero World Challenge
Jon Rahm turned a potential shootout into a Bahamas breeze Sunday, closing with a 7-under 65 for a four-shot victory in the Hero World Challenge. Starting the final round in a three-way tie with Tony Finau and Henrik Stenson, Rahm took the lead when Finau made bogey on the par-3 eighth hole, and the 24-year-old Spaniard never trailed the rest of the day at Albany Golf Club. Finau was the last challenger until the 14th hole, when he went from a sandy area to a bunker and over the green, leading to double bogey. Rahm made birdie on the hole, and suddenly had a five-shot lead without much trouble to get in the way.
Even with his individual trophies, no moment for Rahm will top facing Woods in the Sunday singles at the Ryder Cup and beating him on the 17th hole, putting the first point on the board for Europe that day. And then Rahm ended his year with Woods handing him the trophy from his holiday event.
“That Sunday with Tiger is still the most emotionally, most important moment of my golf career,” Rahm said. “It means so much to play against Tiger. A couple months later, to win his event, it’s really special.”
Despite the runaway victory, there was still a bit of drama to be had on the final hole. Justin Rose, needing to finish in a three-way tie for second to return to No. 1 in the world, closed with a 65 and was in position to go back to the top of the ranking until Finau rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt for a 69 to finish alone in second. Brooks Koepka, who did not play this week, remains No. 1. Rose has one more event left in two weeks at the Indonesia Masters.
Kurt Kitayama secured his maiden European Tour title in just his third event after claiming a two-shot victory at the tri-sanctioned Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita. The American, who earned his playing privileges at Qualifying School last month, carded an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys in his closing 68 on Sunday.