Spaniards set pace in World Cup

Rafael Cabrera-Bello carded a three-under-par 69. Picture: AFP

Rafael Cabrera-Bello carded a three-under-par 69. Picture: AFP

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Spain birdied the final hole to sit top of the leaderboard after the opening day of foursomes at the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf.

The duo of Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Jon Rahm went one under at the par-four 18th to card a three-under-par 69 in testing conditions in Melbourne.

Spanish duo Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrera Bello set the pace in the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Melbourne. Picture: Getty Images

Spanish duo Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrera Bello set the pace in the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Melbourne. Picture: Getty Images

It was a perfect end to an impressive round in the wind, with Cabrera-Bello having earlier sunk a putt from distance to register an eagle at the eighth.

“It was a fun putt,” he said. “When I was seeing it, it looked like it couldn’t miss and then all of a sudden it really missed and I don’t know how it came back and went in.

“It’s been a fun day. We played well. It was tough and tricky with the wind but Jon played great, I rolled some putts and hit some good shots as well. It’s a score we’re proud of and also a score we deserve.”

Rahm added: “We’re playing foursomes in this kind of weather in this part of the world and on this kind of course... It’s a little tricky to what I’m used to playing in the States.

“Obviously we planned a strategy which had me hitting more tee-shots. He hit a couple of great shots, rolled some putts in and that’s pretty much what we needed. It wasn’t so much about hitting great shots - it was about avoiding mistakes and we did that perfectly.”

Spain hold a one-shot lead over France, China and the United States, who all went round in 70 to be two under.

The French pairing of Victor Dubuisson and Romain Langasque fired four birdies and two bogeys, as did Ryder Cup-winning American pair Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler, while Wu Ashun and Li Haotong of China posted five birdies and three bogeys.

England, represented by Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan, were a shot further back on one under along with the Italian pair of Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero, with Irish duo Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell level par alongside Sweden and Denmark.

Scottish pair Russell Knox and Duncan Stewart sit last of the 28 teams after a six-over-par 78.

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