Rafa Cabrera Bello and Jon Rahm give Spain early World Cup lead
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 25/11/16 7:48am
Rafa Cabrera Bello and Jon Rahm opened up an early one-shot lead for Spain at the World Cup of Golf, as the United States and England also started strongly.
Only six of the 28 teams posted under par rounds in blustery conditions during the opening foursomes, with the Spanish duo posting a three-under 69 to move ahead of China, France and the USA.
Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan sit a further shot back for England alongside Team Italy in Melbourne, with the Irish pairing of Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell part of the group on level par.
France set the early pace after Victor Dubuisson and Romain Langasque birdied three of their opening 10 holes, only to lose ground with back-to-back blemishes over their next two holes.
Spain recovered from dropping at shot at the fourth to card the only eagle of the day after Rahm's brilliant approach in to the par-five eighth.
The pair picked up another shot at the 12th, as Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker combined to fire a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th and move the USA temporarily top of the leaderboard.
A blemish at the next dropped the USA back to two under alongside China, who birdied two of their final three holes, and France, who posted a two at the par-three 15th on their way to an opening 70.
Spain were part of the tie for the lead until the last, where Cabrera Bello's 15-foot birdie dropped in to give the four-time World Cup winners the early advantage.
Wood and Sullivan's only dropped shots of their one-under 71 came via a double-bogey at the par-five 12th, while Lowry missed his 20-footer to save par at the last to leave Ireland three off the pace.
Welsh pairing Bradley Dredge and Stuart Manley were one of eight teams to open with a two-over 74, while the Scottish team of Russell Knox and Duncan Stewart prop up the leaderboard heading into Friday's fourballs following a six-over 78.
Watch the World Cup of Golf throughout the week live on Sky Sports 4 - your home of golf. Day two coverage begins on Friday from 1am.