Spain's Jon Rahm targets Shanghai success to boost Race to Dubai bid

26 October 2017 11:54

Jon Rahm admits the pressure is on as he tries to bounce back from a disappointing home debut with a strong performance to boost his chances of winning the Race to Dubai.

Rahm played his first professional tournament in Spain in last week's Andalucia Valderrama Masters, but missed the cut as compatriot and tournament host Sergio Garcia went on to lift the trophy.

That saw Garcia close the gap on Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood to under 800,000 points, with Rahm remaining more than a million adrift ahead of this week's WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.

However, a victory at Sheshan International could take Rahm to the top of the money list, depending on Fleetwood's result, and leave the 22-year-old in pole position to become the first Spanish European number one since Seve Ballesteros in 1991.

"I was sad not to make the cut in my home country and my home event but I come here hopeful," said Rahm, who has finished third, second and 28th in his three career World Golf Championship events to date.

" I feel like every time I miss the cut I become stronger the next week, so hopefully history repeats itself and I play good this week.

"The game feels good. Last week for me was a special week. A lot was going on, a lot more than I expected, so that's maybe why I didn't perform my best, you never know, but the game feels good.

"It's a big week, especially with not going to Turkey and South Africa. I've decided to rest. This is my third week in a row in a long year and I may be putting a little pressure on myself because I know I need two good weeks to maybe win the Race to Dubai.

"But if I don't win and Tommy wins he'll be a great, deserving winner. Hopefully I finish as high as I can. It's been a great year so far, so just the fact that I have a chance is a blessing."

Fleetwood took last week off to spend with his new-born son and admits his practice was limited, but he was sixth in the Italian Open on his previous start and will have the advantage of contesting all four remaining events this season.

" It's difficult towards the end of the year to try and not look at the Order of Merit too much," the 26-year-old from Southport said.

"You can't control what your rivals are doing, you've got so many good players up there you are kind of expecting them to win one.

"My goals and mindset are always the same - you want to win the week that you're playing and this one would be a great one to win. I'll go out there and do my best and then there's three more events after this."

Fleetwood will partner Sweden's Alex Noren and Australian Adam Scott in the first two rounds, with Rahm alongside defending champion Hideki Matsuyama and world number one Dustin Johnson.

England's Tyrrell Hatton is seeking a third straight win following his victories in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and Italian Open.

Source: PA