Jon Rahm shares lead after first round of Mexico Open

By Sports Desk April 28, 2022

Tournament favourite Jon Rahm is joint-leader of the Mexico Open, posting a seven-under 64 in Thursday's first round.

Rahm, ranked number two in the world, went bogey-free in his round, with six birdies and an eagle on the par-four seventh hole.

He is in a five-way tie atop the leaderboard with Americans Jonathan Byrd, Trey Mullinax, Bryson Nimmer and Brendon Todd.

Speaking with the media after stepping off the 18th green, Rahm highlighted his success with the driver, finding the fairway with 12 of his 13 long-balls.

"When I feel at my best, I’m pretty much comfortable hitting driver anywhere," he said

"It was one of those rounds where it felt like everything clicked together. Short game was good, had a chip-in, putting was good and tee to green was fantastic… probably as solid a round as I played all year."

While he enjoyed his round, Rahm spoke about how the conditions changed towards the end of his day, and how it could play far tougher the rest of the weekend.

"Although I went into a little dry spell, I didn’t care about it so much because it is not the easiest golf course," he said.

"The one thing to keep in mind for people watching the scores – there’s a big difference between morning and afternoon (conditions). We had no wind for 13, 14 holes – it’s very, very scoreable. 

"Once the wind starts going 20, 30 miles an hour, this golf course starts showing some teeth."

England's Aaron Rai is one shot further back, along with Sahith Theegala, Aaron Wise and Scott Brown, trailed by a large group at five under, highlighted by Colombia's Sebastian Munoz.

Cameron Champ and Patrick Reed are one more shot back at four under, while Alvaro Ortiz is the highest placed of the Mexican contingent at three under, ahead of Armando Favela and Carlos Ortiz, who both shot 70.

In-form Davis Riley finished at two under, while Tony Finau and Cameron Tringale had disappointing days at even par, with the latter bogeying both the 17th and 18th to finish his round.

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    With the pressure on in the final stages of the fourth round at Pinehurst, McIlroy's major hoodoo continued as he bogeyed three of the final four holes.

    It meant overnight leader DeChambeau had the chance to put in for par on the 18th and snatch victory by a single point.

    McIlroy's last miss, on the 18th, came after he had seen DeChambeau skew a tee shot into the rough, with the Northern Irishman then planting an excellent chip within a couple of feet of the hole.

    But the ball rolled agonisingly around the lip as McIlroy dropped another shot, finishing on five under for the tournament.

    DeChambeau did not offer McIlroy another chance, drilling a shot out of a bunker and onto the green before sinking a four-foot put to spark huge celebrations in the crowd.

    It condemned McIlroy to arguably the most painful defeat of his career, as a fifth major title continues to allude him.

    The 35-year-old, who was held off by a single point by Wyndham Clark at last year's U.S. Open, had played brilliantly through the round, and four birdies between the ninth and 13th holes had him on course to win his first major since he triumphed at The Open in 2014.

    DeChambeau, on the other hand, could not get going on the back nine, exchanging a pair of birdies with two bogeys, but he steadied himself on the 17th with an excellent drive.

    The nerves got to the American, who was the only player to shoot below par in each of the first three rounds, on the 18th, with an awful drive into the rough, yet he regained his composure and, after seeing McIlroy's error, ensured there was to be no more mistakes.

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    World number one Scheffler struggled once again in North Carolina, carding a one-over 71 to drop down to six-over par after the third day.

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    Lowry stayed on five-over for the tournament after battling through "torture" from the Pinehurst No.2 course, offering a warning to all competing this weekend.

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