Stars of 2017 - Jon Rahm

Rising Spanish star Jon Rahm has without question been one of the stars of 2017.

The 23-year-old, a former World No.1 in the amateur ranks, turned pro during the 2016 season and simply hasn't looked back. At the beginning of the year we was ranked 137th in the world but he will start 2018 ranked in excess of 130 places higher up the golfing ladder.

Rahm's breakthrough win came on the PGA TOUR at the Farmers Insurance Open back in January, where he confidently muscled his way to a three-stroke victory with a superb final round 65. Host course for this display of his talents was Torrey Pines, a course known for being tricky to newcomers, however Rahm conquered it in style at the first attempt.

 

Golf journalists James Haddock, Phil Casey and Todd Lewis have their say on rising Spanish star Jon Rahm

 

Aiming to follow in the footsteps of his heroes, the likes of Seve Ballesteros, José María Olazábal and Sergio Garcia, the next step in the young Spaniard's development was to prove his potential as a global player by winning back on European soil. At the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in early July he demonstrated his versatility by winning on a highly regarded links track, managing to post four scores of 67 or better to win by an impressive six-stroke margin.

In truth it was only a matter of time before he was going to win closer to home but to do so on a links course, a course so different to what he was used to playing week-in-week-out on the PGA TOUR, sent out a frightening message. Every player in the world now knows that he he is a man capable of turning up and winning any event, no matter the venue.

Some underwhelming outings were to follow for the superstar-in-the-making, none more so perhaps than his missed cut back in Spain at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters but there was still one more major success story to come for Rahm before the end of 2017.

In a week where he was presented with the European Tour's Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award the Spaniard wasn't content with merely showing up, receiving plaudits and playing for a decent cheque at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship. A final round 67 saw him triumph over the likes of Race To Dubai-chasing Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia to become the only multiple Rolex Series event winner to date.

Given his incredible first full year as a pro it is very hard to envisage him failing to add to his growing tally of victories around the world next year and many believe that a first major could also be on the cards. Throw into the mix an almost nailed-on Ryder Cup debut for Team Europe at Le Golf National and it becomes increasingly challenging to fail to imagine Jon Rahm further establishing himself among golf's elite in 2018.