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2022 Open de Espana Preview

By: | Mon 03 Oct 2022 | Comments

JON RAHM leads a star-studded field at the Open de Espana, and has his sights on a third success to add to his victories in 2018 and 2019. He is determined to emulate legendary fellow Spaniard Seve Ballesteros, who won this tournament in 1981, 1985 and 1995.

Having seen off the competition in 2018 at the Centro Nacional de Golf and followed it with another victory 12 months later  at the nearby Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, Rahm will be back at the famous Javier Arana-designed Madrid course and will spearhead a sizeable home challenge bidding to succeed Rafael Cabrera Bello, the defending champion.

Last year, Cabrera Bello ended a four-year winless run with a dramatic victory. Without a worldwide top-10 finish since January 2021, he bounced back from an opening-hole double bogey to card a final-round 69 at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.

Cabrera Bello took advantage of the par-five fourth and made three consecutive birdies from the 13th to force a play-off alongside Adri Arnaus, before beating his compatriot on the first extra hole.

"I came here in a pretty bad place with scores being not what I expect them to be and to be able to get momentum and turn it around and to walk out of here with a win means a lot to me," Cabrera Bello said. "Hopefully I can keep going and get back to the player I know I can be.”

Jon Rahm

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Rahm will be joined by Tommy Fleetwood, who is looking to build on the form that has seen him move back inside the world’s top 30.

The 31-year-old has enjoyed a fine run of form recently, including fifth at the US PGA Championship and fourth at The 150th Open Championship at St Andrews.

He won his maiden professional title in 2013 at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in Scotland. Four years would pass before his next triumph (at the 2017 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship), but then the floodgates opened. Three more would come in the space of three seasons - the 2017 Open de France, a successful title defence at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the 2019 Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, with the final two Rolex Series events.

The run took Fleetwood to ninth in the World Rankings and earned him a place for Europe in the 2018 Ryder Cup, where he and Francesco Molinari made history by winning all four of their matches at Le Golf National, helping Europe to a resounding victory.

The Course

Club de Campo Villa de Madrid was designed by Javier Arana and opened in 1956. It is a par 71 and measures 7,112 yards. It is a tree-lined course that rewards accuracy from the tee.

Tournament Winners

It was won in 2015 by James Morrison, in 2016 by Andrew Johnston, in 2018 and 2019 by Jon Rahm, and last year by Rafa Cabrera Bello. There was no tournament in 2017 and it was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Form Guide

The most recent of Tommy Fleetwood’s five DP World Tour victories came almost three years ago but he has been in fine form this year, finishing fourth at The Open and Scottish Open, fifth at the US PGA and 14th at The Masters. He is overdue another victory. Jon Rahm will, of course, start the week as favourite but he has not had the best of seasons. However, he very nearly snatched the BMW PGA Championship from Shane Lowry, finishing joint second after a magnificent final round of 62. And he simply adores playing in front of his home fans.

To Win:

Jon Rahm. Difficult to see any other winner this week

Each Way:

Tommy Fleetwood. Desperate to win again

Each Way:

Thriston Lawrence. Two-time winner this season

Five to Follow:

Jon Rahm. Has no weaknesses

Tommy Fleetwood. Enjoying a decent year

Thriston Lawrence. Wonderful short game

Adri Arnaus. Already a winner this year

Rafa Cabrera Bello. Loves playing on home soil

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Tags: european tour dp world tour


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