MELBOURNE: A miraculous putt from Rafa Cabrera Bello on the 18th green gave Spain the lead after a challenging opening round of the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne Thursday.
Cabrera Bello and his youthful teammate Jon Rahm executed a flawless game plan in the blustery conditions, which made foursomes—alternate shot—play difficult for the two-man teams at Kingston Heath.
With only six countries returning scores under par, the Spanish combination took a one-shot lead over the USA, France and China—courtesy of the late birdie that resulted from Cabrera Bello’s snaking 15-foot putt.
Rahm drove the ball magnificently and Cabrera Bello did the rest around the greens as the pair gelled well to notch a three-under par 69 ahead of Friday’s fourballs.
Cabrera Bello said he could not believe his last putt had dropped.
Spain will be grouped on the second day with France whose Victor Dubuisson and Romain Langasque returned a two-under par round of 70.
The USA, with Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, justified their pre-tournament tag of favourites as they made the most of every opportunity card a 70.
US PGA champion Walker holed a sensational bunker shot on the 13th to ignite a run of two more birdies.
Hosts Australia battled all day just to stay at two-over 74, five shots behind leaders Spain.