NORTH BERWICK, Scotland — – About to begin his first occasion as a serious champion, Jon Rahm was taking some observe swings on the primary tee on the Scottish Open when his standing as golf’s hottest participant was underlined.
“On the tee,” the official starter stated, “the U.S. Open champion, the Race to Dubai champion, the world No. 1 from Spain, Jon Rahm.”
A gap spherical of 5-under 66 noticed him reside as much as the billing on Thursday.
Rahm combined seven birdies with two bogeys over the hyperlinks at The Renaissance Membership in North Berwick and was two strokes off the lead held by Jack Senior, a 353rd-ranked English participant who was upstaging top-of-the-line fields assembled on the European Tour for a while.
No. 3-ranked Justin Thomas holed a 90-foot eagle putt and likewise birdied the final to wind up in a tie for second place with Lee Westwood, with each gamers capturing bogey-free 65s.
Rahm was an extra stroke again in a nine-way tie for fourth and displaying his recreation stays in nice form after a two-week break following his win at Torrey Pines for his first main title.
“I used to be a bit of stunned by it,” Rahm stated of his introduction on the primary tee. “I did not count on it. And my ego may need gotten a bit of too huge. I attempted to hit it too exhausting on No. 1.”
One other main is developing subsequent week – the British Open at Royal St. George’s within the south of England – and that explains why there may be such a robust lineup on the Scottish Open, which is commonly used as a warmup occasion on account of it additionally being performed on a hyperlinks course.
Of the opposite high-profile names, No. 11-ranked Rory McIlroy birdied two of his final three holes and shot 1-under 70 together with Collin Morikawa, final yr’s PGA Championship winner and the world No. 4.
Senior, who has by no means received on the European Tour regardless of a stellar document as an novice, blotted his spherical of 64 by bogeying his final gap – the No. 9 – after beginning on the tenth.
Earlier than that, he had rolled in eight birdies, together with 4 in 5 holes from No. 4.