26 July 2019: Jon Rahm fired a stunning, record breaking round of 62 to take a three-shot lead after day one of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. The Spaniard has three Rolex Series victories but is looking for his first World Golf Championships title this week and made the ideal start as the event made its first appearance at TPC Southwind in Memphis.
His bogey free effort took him to eight under par and equalled the lowest ever opening round in a WGC event and his own lowest ever round on the European Tour, matching his closing 18 holes en route to victory earlier this month at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
Rahm is playing at this venue for the first time and revealed he had never stepped onto the front nine before Thursday as his practice schedule was affected by jetlag after three consecutive events on European soil at the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and The Open Championship.
The 24 year old has made a pledge to donate $1,000 dollars per birdie and $5,000 per eagle over the week to the tournament charity St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and his eight birdies today got the total off to a flying start.
“It’s not the easiest thing but I just wanted my mind to be fresh,” he said. “We putt on this speed of green so often that we’re used to it – it’s just coming back.
“I did a little bit of putting after I played nine just to get the feel for them and when I went out there today I felt pretty good about it.
“That was the key today, holing those putts. I managed to put the ball in positions where the putts didn’t have much break. That’s why I think I was able to make so many, I don’t think I hit a putt where the break was more than a foot.”
American duo Patrick Cantlay and Bubba Watson, Japanese pair Shugo Imahira and Hideki Matsuyama and two-time European Tour winner Cameron Smith of Australia are in a share of second place at five under par, a shot clear of Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton and Ian Poulter, Sweden’s Alex Noren, Dane Thorbjørn Olesen and Americans Nate Lashley and Andrew Putnam.
English pair Justin Rose and Mathew Fitzpatrick, Americans Bryson DeChambeau and Billy Horschel and Corey Conners of Canada are then at three under par, with England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who comes into the week on the back of a runner up finish at The Open, in a group of six players one shot further back.
European Tour Release