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Rahm looking for a repeat of 'special' Irish Open victory

 

By Adam McKendry

Defending Irish Open champion Jon Rahm has confirmed he will return to contest the title he won at Portstewart last year at Ballyliffin in July.

The World No.3 will tee it up at the Donegal links in a bid to win back-to-back titles following his record-breaking final round performance on the north coast last year.

Should the Spaniard emerge triumphant at Ballyliffin then he would become the first person to defend his crown at the Irish Open since Colin Montgomerie after he won the 1996 and 1997 editions.

Rahm (23), who has four career wins across the PGA and European Tours, is the first major addition to the field alongside tournament host and World No.7 Rory McIlroy.

The rising star, who is among the favourites for next week's first Major of the year, the Masters, says he's relishing the chance to regain his trophy.

"It was extremely special last year," said Rahm.

"Not only was it my first European Tour victory, it was a Rolex Series event and I'm a Rolex ambassador so it meant a lot in many ways.

"But it was also the first time I was leading or tied for the lead going into the final round and to perform the way I did was amazing, making a great par save on two and then holing out on four, on top of the display of golf I had after that.

"It's really easy to get comfortable and hold on to the score but I just kept making birdies and hitting good shots and I experienced a part of myself which I didn't know I had, so it was a lot of fun.

"It's my first Ryder Cup year and I'm really excited to hopefully be on the team. I'm going to work hard to try and get on the team and I can't wait to hopefully bring the cup back home to Europe."

Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at www.europeantour.com/tickets.

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