Irish Open: Jon Rahm to defend title at Ballyliffin in July

Jon Rahm celebrates after holing his 150-yard shot for an eagle at the fourth
Jon Rahm holed from 150 yards for eagle at the fourth at Portstewart last year

Spanish star Jon Rahm has confirmed that he will defend the Irish Open title at Ballyliffin in July.

World number three Rahm's six-shot victory at Portstewart last summer was his first European Tour win.

The 23-year-old overcame a rules scare over his ball-marking early in his final round to fire a closing 65.

Rahm picked up £900,000 last year and the Ballyliffin tournament from 5-8 July will again be one of European Tour's big-money Rolex Series events.

The Spaniard will be aiming to become the first player to defend the Irish Open title since Colin Montgomerie's triumph in 1997.

Rahm's eventful final round at Portstewart

Rahm's eventful final round at Portstewart included holing a 150-yard shot for an eagle at the fourth hole.

At the 13th hole in Rahm's round, tournament referee Andy McFee questioned the Spaniard about his ball-marking on the sixth green after video evidence showed he had replaced his ball in a slightly different spot.

The European Tour official opted not to impose a penalty although 2016 US PGA champion Jimmy Walker was among those who criticised that decision.

"It was extremely special last year," said Rahm, who went on to win the European Tour's season-ending World Tour Championship.

"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."

The Donegal venue will be staging the Irish Open for the first time after previously hosting both the Senior Irish Open and Women's Irish Open.

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