Spanish star Jon Rahm is 'in love' with Northern Ireland's North Coast
He's in Portstewart for the Irish Open, and he couldn't be any happier to be there
The beautiful scenery around Northern Ireland’s north coast has captivated tourists for decades, and for one particular, it left a long lasting impression.
“It's my pleasure to be here,” says professional golfer Jon Rahm. “I came here a couple of years ago to play the Amateur Open and I fell in love with the place, both towns, Portrush and Portstewart.”
The Spaniard, who speaks with more than a hint of an American accent after playing all his college golf there, is in Portstewart this week for the 2017 Irish Open.
As the world’s best golfers descend once again upon Northern Ireland to take on the tricky links, Rahm is among the favourites to take the title, and the World No.11 didn't hold back with his praise for the Strand course at Portstewart.
“I (think) the golf course is amazing,” Rahm continued. “It's probably one of the most beautiful golf courses I've ever seen, if not the most. I was like, if I ever have the chance to go back, I have to.
“When I saw once Rory (McIlroy) took over the tournament and as part of the Rolex Series it was here, I was like, well, it's going to be an easy choice to come here. I want to go play it, so it kind of made it all around coming here.
“Really excited to be able to tee up on such a great golf course, such a great area.”
22-year old Rahm, still a novice by golfing standards, has been grouped in what is undoubtedly the feature trio of the opening two rounds with tournament host McIlroy and the highest ranked player in the field, World No.2 Hideki Matsuyama.
He's in good form too having finished 10th at last week’s Open de France, his seventh top-10 finish of the season, while he is already a winner on the PGA Tour having bagged the Farmers Insurance Open in January.
With most of the golfers eager to play at Portstewart because it will be good preparation for The Open at Royal Birkdale in two week’s time, Rahm says he was always coming back to a course he loves.
“I played good golf,” he reflects on his previous rounds at the Strand. “We had great weather too. That's one of the reasons why I came back; I had such a great time that I wanted to come back here.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital