Matthieu Pavon wins Spanish Open for first Euro tour title

Associated Press
Sports News
Oct 15, 2023, 01:55 PM ET
3 Minute Read

MADRID — Matthieu Pavon secured his first European tour victory in an emotional wire-to-wire finish at the Spanish Open on Sunday. The Frenchman fended off a strong challenge from Jon Rahm and late surges by Marcel Siem to win the tournament by 4 shots.

Pavon, playing in a country with deep personal connections, closed with an impressive 7-under 64 to finish at 23 under for the tournament. His father used to play professional soccer in Spain, and his grandfather was born in the city. The victory was a poignant moment for Pavon, and he tearfully acknowledged the significance of his heritage, stating, “He is up there, so I think he will be very proud of me… 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’s exceptional performance saw him hold off a strong field. Zander Lombard finished in second place with a 64, while Nathan Kimsey took third, finishing 5 shots behind Pavon. Marcel Siem mounted a late charge, threatening to shoot a historic 59, but ultimately finished 6 shots behind the winner. Jon Rahm, aiming for his fourth Spanish Open title, finished in a tie for ninth place.

Throughout the tournament, Pavon demonstrated remarkable consistency and skill. His final round included seven birdies and no bogeys, showcasing his ability to stay focused and maintain a high level of play. With only three dropped shots in the entire week, Pavon proved himself to be a formidable competitor at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.

After years of perseverance, Pavon expressed his joy at securing his first European tour victory, stating, “It was a very long wait… 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.”

Jon Rahm, who had recently played an instrumental role in Europe’s victory in the Ryder Cup, finished the Spanish Open with a strong round of 7-under 64 but couldn’t catch up to the leaders. Reflecting on his performance, Rahm said, “It was a very good day. I started really well… To finish the tournament like I did makes the flight home a lot better.” Rahm now plans to take a break before preparing for the DP World Tour Championship in November.

Marcel Siem, in contention for a PGA Tour card next season, showcased his talent with an impressive performance. Siem narrowly missed a historic 59, coming closest on the 18th hole with an eagle chip that just rolled past the hole. Despite the missed opportunity, Siem was pleased with his performance and expressed his excitement, saying, “I’m really pleased… It was quite cool thinking about the 59 from the 15th and onwards.”

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

The Spanish Open provided a truly compelling tournament, with Matthieu Pavon shining through as the deserving champion. The European tour now continues with the upcoming Andalucia Masters in Spain.


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