Matthieu Pavon claims first DP World Tour title at Spanish Open; Jon Rahm surges in final round

Matthieu Pavon claims first DP World Tour title at Spanish Open; Jon Rahm surges in final round
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MADRID — Matthieu Pavon broke through with his first DP World Tour victory at a place close to home for him, fending off an early rally by Jon Rahm and a late charge by Marcel Siem to win the Spanish Open by four shots on Sunday.

The Frenchman closed with a 7-under 64 to finish at 23 under for the tournament in an emotional wire-to-wire victory in a country where his father used to play soccer professionally and in a city where his grandfather was born.

“He is up there, so I think he will be very proud of me,” Pavon said, pausing to wipe away tears. “A part of my heart is here in Spain. My grandfather was from here, lived in France because of (former dictator Gen. Francisco) Franco, and I just really thought about him on the course today and it was really hard to keep the tears inside, but now I can just let them go a little bit.”

Pavon, runner-up to Rahm last year in the Spanish capital, held off second-place Zander Lombard (64) and finished five shots ahead of Nathan Kimsey (67) in third.

Pavon ended six shots ahead of Siem, who flirted with a 59 in a 10-under 61 that included two eagles. Pavon finished nine shots ahead of Rahm, who birdied six of his first eight holes to move within three shots of the lead at one point.

Pavon’s final round included seven birdies and no bogeys. He only dropped three shots all week at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid. The 30-year-old Frenchman, making his 185th start, had only two victories on the Alps Tour and finished second three times on the European tour and another three times on the European Challenge tour.

“It was a very long wait,” he said. “Seven years on tour, so that was a long wait. But it really was worth it. Managing my emotions the last two days was a very big accomplishment for me.”

Rahm, who was trying to surpass Seve Ballesteros’ three Spanish Open titles, finished with a 7-under 64 in a tie for ninth. The No. 3-ranked player in the world birdied his first four holes to get the crowd going, but lost momentum after making a bogey on the 13th before picking up two late birdies. Rahm just missed an eagle putt on the last hole.

“It was a very good day, I started really well,” Rahm said. “I wished the week would have gone better. It was a shame how I played on Friday. But to finish the tournament like I did makes the flight home a lot better.”

Rahm had a week off after helping Europe defeat the United States in the Ryder Cup. He said he will take at least 10 more days off before preparing for the DP World Tour Championship in November in Dubai.

Siem, in the hunt for a PGA Tour card next season, had an eagle chip for 59 from off the green at the 18th but it just rolled past the hole. He had a hole-out for eagle from 102 yards away on the par-4 15th that saw the German jump into the air and throw a big fist pump. He was within one shot of the lead at the time. Siem needed to go 2 under in the final three holes to get the 59, but finished with three pars.

“I’m really pleased,” he said. “I had a chip for a 59 on the last, which I never had, it was pretty cool. It was quite cool thinking about the 59 from the 15th and onwards.”

Justin Rose, the only other top 50 player in the tournament, finished at 5 under in a tie for 57th after a final round of 2-under 69.

One of Pavon’s runner-up finishes came the only other time he had held a 54-hole lead, at the Portugal Masters in 2021.

The other Spaniard with Rahm in an eight-way tie for ninth at 14 under was 41-year-old Alfredo Garcia-Heredia.

The European tour stays in Spain with the upcoming Andalucia Masters.

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