Jon Rahm’s bid for a third consecutive Spanish Open title got off to an auspicious start on Thursday.

Rahm shot 8-under 63 and sits behind only two players on Day 1 at Club de Campo Villa in Madrid, Spain.

Ross McGowan, currently world No. 377, set a new course record with a 10-under 61.  He’s one clear of world No. 390, Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez.

Full-field scores from the Open de España

Meanwhile, the world No. 1 is comfortably T-3. Rahm started his opening round on the back nine and turned in 5-under 30, making four birdies, one eagle and one bogey.

He added three more birdies to his card coming in.

“I was very comfortable,” Rahm said. “I would have signed for the 8 under before I started.”

Rahm won this event for the first time in 2018 at Centro Nacional de Golf in Madrid, and again in 2019 at Club de Campo. The event was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving Rahm with a threepeat shot this week.

Rahm in contention in Madrid after strong Round 1

He is looking to join Spanish legend Seve Ballesteros as the only three-time winner of the event in the European Tour era.

According to the tour, Rahm is also looking to join Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Colin Montgomerie as the only players to win a regular European Tour event in three consecutive editions.

Rahm added on Thursday that he was extra motivated to play in front of so many of his Spanish fans. This is his first competitive event in his home country since winning the U.S. Open in June.

“When I see my face on buses and billboards I realize the impact that I’ve had. Little by little I’m getting used to it,” said Rahm. “I’m very motivated, there is nothing like the support of these fans.”


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