After Englishman Ross McGowan had set the tone with a 10-under-par 61 and Rahm then signed for a 63 in the morning wave at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, Drysdale and Forrest carded 64 and 65 respectively in the afternoon.
Drysdale’s effort was bogey-free on a day when he described it as “target golf” due to the greens being soft, but it was a different story for Forrest as he mixed those three eagles, as well as two birdies, with two bogeys.
“There was a bit of everything in there,” said the 28-year-old Haddington-based player, who landed his maiden European Tour win in the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews in August.
“I hit a few loose tee shots but holed a bunker shot for the first of the eagles and had the hole-in-one in nine. I had 181 yards and it was the perfect 8-iron.
“The way that green is, you have to go straight at it and it was down it the whole way. We couldn’t see the bottom of the hole but heard the cheers. It’s my first one as a pro, so it’s pretty special.
“Yes, a mixed bag but managed to come out with a good score, so I am happy about that.”
Playing the course the other way round Drysdale picked up four birdies in five holes in a burst on his front nine before adding three more on the inward journey.
“Just a really solid round, hitting most of the fairways and most of the greens,” he said. “The greens are soft, so it is target golf. It was just about staying patient and trying to knock in some putts. I was solid for all 18 holes and I’m quite happy with it.”
The 46-year-old sits 122nd in the Race to Dubai, so is just three spots inside the cut-off for card retention. “Not really,” he replied to being asked if that is hanging over him heading into the final few weeks of the season
“I’ve been there before. I know where I am, don’t get me wrong, and what I need to do. I’ve got four or five events to go, so I just need to get the head down and grind it out.”
McGowan, a two-time tour winner, signed for an eagle and eight birdies to lead by a shot from home player Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, with Rahm one further back and already lurking ominously.
“Ten under is a heck of a round out here,” he said of McGowan’s effort. “I played good enough to maybe do it, but you have to play flawless and make the putts, hit the right shots and on a golf course like this.
“It’s a little bit more old school, a little narrower and targets are smaller, so it is easier to end up out of position. Overall, very happy with my round.”
Marc Warren and Scott Jamieson are also in the top 15 after matching 66s, with Connor Syme off to a promising start as well with a 67.