Spain’s Jon Rahm has won the Irish Open on Irish links twice in three years and hopes to bring that form and favour to The Open

Jon Rahm looking to continue Irish success in The Open

When Jon Rahm first won the Irish Open in 2017 at Portstewart he stayed 10 minutes up the road in Portrush. This week, with The Open at Royal Portrush, Rahm has reversed the arrangement and is staying 10 minutes down the road in Portstewart.

You never know, it might help, but one thing for certain is that Rahm – 24 years old and the world number eight – is among the favourites any time he tees up on an Irish links.

Rahm’s maiden European Tour win came at Portstewart, by six clear shots, then in 2018 on the links of Ballyliffin he finished just two behind the winner Russel Knox.

Rahm offered no such generosity two weeks ago at Lahinch, when he stormed up the final-round leaderboard by shooting 62 to win by two.

“I am looking forward to hopefully keeping the streak of good golf in Ireland and Northern Ireland going,” says Rahm, an ambassador for Open patron Mercedes-Benz.

“I just like it over here. Ever since the first time I played here, at Portstewart two years ago, the Irish crowds have treated me very, very specially.

“This is the closest I’ll ever feel to playing at home, without actually being at home.”

And Rahm sees similarities between the links at Lahinch and the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush, on which The Open is unfolding.

“The good thing about Lahinch is that it is a tricky golf course with similar shots into the greens. You have to be very precise.

“Driving is definitely important. I like to think I am a good driver but when the conditions get difficult it’s really hard to do.

“You have to figure out a way to put it on the fairway, no matter how.”

Rahm tees off in the first round at 3:21 with Americans Patrick Cantlay and Matt Kuchar.