Dubai: Jon Rahm has said winning the DP World Tour Championship after having just been presented with the European Tour’s Rookie of the Year Award would be the cherry on the cake for his breakthrough 2017 season.
The 23-year-old Spaniard, who at world No. 5 is the highest ranked player in the field this week, took the best Rookie award on Tuesday, after a season of three top three finishes, including one win from 12 appearances.
He’s now up to 14-under, a stroke behind leader Justin Rose heading into the final round of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship on Sunday, after adding a third round 65 to earlier rounds of 69 and 68.
“For many reasons it would be absolutely amazing, just because the fact that being a Rookie of the Year and winning twice on the European Tour; once was already a dream,” he said of his Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in July. “But twice, and with them both being on the Rolex Series and one [potentially] being the DP World Tour Championship, it would be something really special. It would be the cherry on top of the icing of a great, great year.
“I’m a perfectionist, I always find flaws, but today was as close to a flawless round that I’m going to play,” he said of five birdies on his front and three on the return after opening with a bogey.
“You’re always going to miss shots, so we take that into account. But I played really solid golf today.”
Of being second in the leaderboard, where 10 people are all within three shots at the top, he said: “I feel like if I was on top it would be a little harder because you only have a one-shot lead and a bunch of people behind you.
“I feel like I’m just a little ahead of those chasing the leader. If I can keep doing what I’ve been doing all week, which is hit it really well off the tee. I think the rest will take care of itself. The game is feeling good and hopefully I can keep doing the same tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Dylan Fritelli, who occupies joint second with Rahm, after Saturday’s 63, is also looking to end his year on a high. “Obviously this has been a breakout year, it’s been one of the best ones I’ve had as a professional so far,” he said of three top fives including a win from 28 appearances. “I just hope I can keep the form coming and play well tomorrow again.”