The Open: Miguel Angel Jimenez and Rafael Cabrera-Bello set early Muirfield pace
Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Miguel Angel Jimenez enjoyed themselves in the Muirfield sunshine to set the early Open pace.
Last Updated: 19/07/13 12:12pm
Jimenez was in a class of his own among the early starters as he birdied the opening three holes and picked up another at the fifth before closing out a superb outward 31 with a four at the long ninth.
But the veteran found the inward half a tougher proposition, dropping shots at 12 and 16 before parring in to return a three-under 68, although his clubhouse lead last a matter of minutes when Cabrera-Bello signed for a 67.
The 29-year-old mixed six birdies with two bogeys in only his second Open appearance, although he played down suggestions of winning for Spain on the 25th anniversary of Seve Ballesteros claiming his third and final Open title.
"It's only the first day, I have not even thought about winning," said Cabrera-Bello, who was later ousted as clubhouse leader when former Masters champion Zach Johnson completed a 66.
"It would be a huge dream but it's not something that I am thinking about or have set as a goal at the minute.
"The weather was very good. It was nice to come here and feel that the heat is still going on. For us Spaniards, especially for me coming from the Canary Islands, it is something I really enjoy."
Cabrera-Bello also paid tribute to the mentoring skills of 49-year-old Jimenez, adding: "Miguel is one of the players that has influenced my game a lot. He has a great attitude, a different but admirable way that he plays golf.
"What I admire about Miguel - and it's something that I have tried to copy - is that every time Miguel goes to any tournament he's given himself everything he needs to feel comfortable. He tees up completely enjoying every part of the week and giving himself the best chance to perform as good as he can.
"There is very good camaraderie between all the Spanish guys. It's something that makes our life very enjoyable on Tour. Not necessarily that Miguel is the captain, because we call Jose Maria Olazabal captain. But he's definitely a very big part of the team or the Spanish Armada."
Jimenez said: "It would be great if one of the Spanish win the tournament, especially if myself, even better. I would love to have a major in my career, but you never know what's going to happen.
"The only thing you have to do is to enjoy yourself. Don't think about to win or not to win. The more important thing is enjoy yourself and be happy on the golf course, be happy with what you're doing. And that's it. Simple."