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Farmers Insurance Open: England’s Aaron Rai shares lead after opening round as Jon Rahm struggles | Golf News

England’s Aaron Rai shot an 8-under-64 in the first round as did Brent Grant and Sam Ryder; The Farmers Insurance Open continues on Thursday to Saturday, live on Sky Sports Golf from 5pm

Last Updated: 26/01/23 6:43am

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England’s Aaron Rai shares the lead after the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in California.

England’s Aaron Rai shares the lead after the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in California.

Englishman Aaron Rai shot an eight-under 64 at the Farmers Insurance Open to tie for the first-round lead with Americans Sam Ryder and Brent Grant.

The 27-year-old started at Torrey Pines by birdying the No 10 on the North Course of the San Diego venue, before collecting seven more birdies on a productive day.

World No 3 Jon Rahm, meanwhile, struggled to a one-over 73 on the South Course.

The Spaniard, who is trying for his third win in as many starts, made a double bogey on the par-four seventh hole and was continually left frustrated on the more challenging course.

None of the three leaders has won a Tour title, while Ryder is also coming off three straight missed cuts and rookie Grant’s last four rounds have been 74 or worse.

Rai was pleased after playing, admitting it had been a “very good” round and started the tournament.

“Really drove it great off the tee, which is probably the most important thing to at least give ourselves an opportunity with those approach shots,” he said, in comments carried by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“As soon as you miss the fairway here with anything more than a short iron (it) is very, very difficult.

“So that was key today, drove it very well. Hit a lot of real good iron shots and made a few putts around the turn there, so all in all a very good round, very good start.”

Rahm will be looking to bounce back, after winning four of his last six events including his last two starts on the PGA Tour at last week’s American Express and the season-opening Sentry Tournament of Champions.

A double bogey on the par-four seventh hole only added to Rahm's woes in the opening round

A double bogey on the par-four seventh hole only added to Rahm’s woes in the opening round

“No 7 was arguably the best swing of the day that cost me two shots,” Rahm said. “I’ve hit that shot over 25 times in the past with the same wind and I’ve never seen a ball get pin high and today we don’t know what happened.

“Somehow it ended up flying the pin by 10 yards and in the hazard. If it just flies the green and stays in the rough it’s OK. But that was costly.

“The main thing on the round today, with the tee shots I hit on six, seven, 12 and 13, I was three-over par,” Rahm added. “In any other given round I’ve played here in the past I’m actually playing that at least even par to under par, so it’s easily a three- to five-shot swing and that’s the difference.”

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January 26, 2023, 5:00pm

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