Delight for Jon Rahm as another brilliant week at the Irish Open comes to a close.
With nearly 100,000 spectators descending upon Portstewart last week, the 2017 DDF Irish Open really was a spectacle to behold. The multi-million dollar event gave a huge boost to not only the local economy, but it also showcased Northern Ireland as a whole. The event was meticulously ran and one which the Rory foundation can be happy with and build on for next year. The weather itself remained dry and sunny for the majority of the week which added to the atmosphere considerably. Saturday hadn’t a cloud in the sky, the normally wet and windy conditions associated with Links golf was replaced by nothing but sunshine. This weather really allowed for everyone to appreciate the beauty of Portstewart and what exactly it can offer. At times it was as if the event was taking place in a different county, as were the pristine course and weather conditions.
With regards to the golf, there can be no qualms about the winner. Jon Rahm’s play was awe-inspiring at times during his four rounds at Portstewart. Rahm finished 24 under par – six shots ahead of nearest rivals Richie Ramsay of Scotland and England’s Matthew Southgate, who both finished 18 under.This was only the 22-year-old’s second regular European Tour event, but he looked like an old magical hand as he blew away the Portstewart field in wet and windy conditions. Not even a rules controversy could derail this remarkable young man, although it did leave a sour taste for some. Rahm now joins Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia in an illustrious list of Spanish winners at the Irish Open. After just 25 events and 12 months in the paid ranks, Rahm rises to a remarkable world No 8 and, after this links masterclass, will be many experts’ pick to prevail at next week’s Open Championship at Birkdale.
It was a rather disappointing week for Rory McIlroy as he failed to make the cut. People who would have followed Rory throughout his two rounds would have noticed he was always within a couple of feet of Rahm from the majority of tee shots, the problem lies in his short game or more accurately his putting. He will be hoping he can play some consistent golf over the next few weeks in order to get his game back to a level where he can be challenging for trophies. With regards to the other Irish golfers it was a week many of them can certainly be proud of. The best Irish performer of the week was Gavin Moynihan who hit a superb 64 on Sunday to finish on -13 in a share of 14th place. The 22-year old turned pro in 2015 and is more often found on the fairways of the Challenge Tour. Shane Lowry also finished in style, thanks to a flawless 66 in the final round and the Offaly man finished in a tie for 20th on -12 for the week . Of the remaining Irish, Michael Hoey hit a final round 67 to finish on -11, while Padraig Harrington and Paul Dunne ended on -9 and -7 respectively.
It was also great to see Southgate get a share of second place after he recently recovered from testicular cancer. His second place was the best finish of his career to date, eclipsing his fourth place in the same event last year.
Overall, the 2017 DDF Irish Open was an event to be proud of. On the final day of the event, it was announced that Ballyliffin Golf Club, another one of our member courses, was to host the 2018 DDF Irish Open. We are delighted at this announcement and are already looking forward to next years tournament with great anticipation and excitement.