Spain on top of World Cup of Golf af­ter first round

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

RAFA CABR­ERA BELLO rolled in a long birdie putt on the 18th hole to give Spain a one-shot lead af­ter the open­ing round of four­somes at the World Cup of Golf in Mel­bourne yes­ter­day.

Cabr­era Bello com­bined with Jon Rahm for a three-un­der 69 as teams in the 28-na­tion field laboured on slick greens on a windy day at Kingston Heath.

The US pair of Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker shot 70 to grab a share of sec­ond with France and China at the re­booted tour­na­ment while highly fan­cied hosts Aus­tralia, an­chored by world No. 7 Adam Scott, dis­ap­pointed with a 74.

Cabr­era Bello, buf­feted by wind gusts as he lined up his fi­nal putt, watched the ball me­an­der to­ward the hole and sharply break right be­fore it stopped on the lip, paused and dropped, trig­ger­ing a roar from the gallery.

“That was a fun putt ... I don’t know how it came back,” the 32-year-old said.

“It’s been a good day ... I think it’s a score we’re proud of and it’s a score we de­served.”

Fowler, who fin­ished ear­lier than the Spa­niards, had a sim­i­lar long chance on the last to put the United States on three-un­der but his putt tan­ta­lis­ingly lipped out.

For­mer US Masters Cham­pion Scott won the team com­po­nent of the pre­vi­ous event in Mel­bourne in 2013 with in­di­vid­ual win­ner Ja­son Day, when the tour­na­ment was a 72-hole stroke­play for­mat.

But his part­ner­ship with Marc Leish­man got off to a rocky start with bo­geys on the sec­ond and the sixth and the pair man­aged only one birdie for the round on the 15th.

Leish­man let his team­mate down by miss­ing a num­ber of make­able putts, in­clud­ing a short one for par on the 18th that left them five strokes adrift for to­mor­row’s four-ball round.

“We just couldn’t get any mo­men­tum,” said Scott.

“It’s very tough to gauge ex­actly what’s go­ing on out there when it’s blus­tery. But it’s not that bad.”

Bri­tish pair Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan were tied for fifth on one-un­der af­ter shoot­ing a 71 with Italy’s Francesco Moli­nari and Mat­teo Manassero.

Ire­land’s Shane Lowry and Graeme McDow­ell were a shot fur­ther adrift on even par with Swe­den and Den­mark. – Reuters

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