Story By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Sol Tucker and Benjamin Rogers Jr.
What started the day as a wash-out finished the say under stormy looking skies, but nothing was going to stop Jon Rahm from walking in the clubhouse at Congressional with a day to remember, in what would be at the top of the leader board in his professional debut.
Rahm shot a 7-under 64 on Thursday at Congressional to take the first-round lead in the Quicken Loans National, Tiger Woods’ annual tournament that started two hours late because of rain.
“I was anticipating this moment,” the 21-year-old Spaniard said. “I’m working on it a long time that I kind of blacked out a little bit. I don’t remember a single swing I made all day or any putting stroke or anything. I just remember the ball flying or rolling.”
The former Arizona State star was the only amateur to make the cut last week in the U.S. Open, tying for 23rd at Oakmont. With momentum from the U.S. Open, Rahm tried to temper his expectations and relied on advice from the legendary Jack Nicklaus.
The long-hitting Rahm had a one-stroke lead over Jhonattan Vegas and a two-stroke advantage over a pack that included Els, who won the 1997 U.S. Open at Congressional. Rickie Fowler and veteran Vijay Singh were among those four back at 3 under.
“Winning a major at a special place like Congressional, playing here again, you just keep thinking back on shots,” Els said. “Almost every single hole there’s a moment back in ’97 where we can remember still.”
Below are the results for the first round of the Quicken Loans Open
|3t||B. Hurley III||-5||18|
|3t||H. Varner III||-5||18|