Rahm lands $5M jackpot, emulates Ballesteros with Dubai win

Jon Rahm of Spain follows his ball on the 2nd hole during the final round of the DP World Tour Championship golf tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DUBAI – Jon Rahm was still getting his head around the biggest, gutsiest and richest victory of his career when the name of his golfing idol was dropped into the conversation.

By winning the Race to Dubai title on the European Tour with a one-stroke win at the World Tour Championship, Rahm was reminded, he became only the second Spaniard after the late Seve Ballesteros to finish a season as Europe’s No. 1 player.

“Did I? Oh man, I didn’t even think about that,” an emotional Rahm said, putting his hands to his face after forgetting the narrative he had spoken about all week in the Middle East.

Maybe that’s what landing a jackpot of $5 million does to you.

Rahm, the world No. 5, got up and down from a greenside bunker for birdie at the 18th hole to secure the biggest payday of his career Sunday — $3 million, the richest first prize in golf, for winning the World Tour Championship and a bonus of $2 million for finishing first in the Race to Dubai.

“I feel like I’m going to start crying,” said Rahm, who pushed Tommy Fleetwood — who also would have become European No. 1 with a win on the Earth Course — into second place.

Rahm, who started the final round tied for the lead with Mike Lorenzo-Vera, birdied five of his first seven holes to power into a six-stroke lead.

However, Fleetwood — playing one group ahead — finished as well as Rahm had started, tapping in at No. 18 for a fifth birdie in his last seven holes. It gave him a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with Rahm, just as Spaniard was putting on the 17th green.