Rahm a shot off the lead entering weekend at Spanish Open

Sports

MADRID (AP)Jon Rahm had a lackluster second round at the Spanish Open on Friday, carding a 4-under 67 to stay one shot behind leader Wil Besseling going into the weekend.

Rahm, who opened with a 63, was one shot ahead of fellow Spaniard Adri Arnaus and first-round leader Ross McGowan of England.

Rahm made two birdies in his first nine holes and finished with an eagle on the par-5 14th, a bogey on the par-4 16th, and a hard-fought birdie on the last hole after hooking his tee shot behind the packed grandstands near the 18th green.

”I made a really bad swing, I was trying to hit it so hard,” said Rahm, who was able to hit it close after getting relief from the grandstands. ”I was looking for a chance for birdie, but hitting it to almost tap-in was a real bonus.”

His tee shot went wayward after he was bothered by noise from the huge crowds following him at Clube de Campo Villa de Madrid.

”It is wonderful how many fans we have out here and it’s great that they are so passionate about it. I just wished they would remember to put their phones in silence, that’s it,” he said.

”I mean, for two days every single shot there’s four or five cameras going off. They are all so golf hungry, and it’s great, I love playing in front of them, it’s just sometimes you are by the par putt and there’s cameras going off. I wouldn’t like to lose focus because of something like that.”

Several thousand fans have been trying to see Rahm up close in his return home after nearly two years. The U.S. Open champion and No. 1-ranked golfer in the world is the two-time defending champion at the Spanish Open and has a chance to tie Spanish great Seve Ballesteros as a three-time winner.

Besseling made six birdies, four of them on the back nine, to add a 6-under 65 to his 64. The Dutchman has yet to make a bogey.

Spaniard Adri Arnaus, who also was bogey free on Friday, also birdied four holes on his back nine to stay near the top.

McGowan, who started with a course-record 10-under 61, couldn’t keep up on Friday. His back nine included a bogey and a triple bogey.

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