Pavon leads, Rahm makes cut at Spanish Open

Pavon leads, Rahm makes cut at Spanish Open

MADRID — Jon Rahm shook his head in disbelief after missing yet another fairway.

He dropped his hands to his knees in despair after one of his putts skirted the edge of the hole once again.

And the No. 3-ranked golfer appeared close to breaking a club on his leg when one of his approach shots failed to find the green.

It was a day to forget for Rahm in the second round of the Spanish Open on Friday.

Rahm made the cut by one stroke after a round of 1-over 72 that left him in a tie for 45th, eight shots behind leader Matthieu Pavon. It gives him a difficult task this weekend as he aims to surpass Seve Ballesteros by winning a fourth title at the home tournament.

“I’m still going for the win,” Rahm said. “I’m eight behind, after not playing well, so I can recover easily, especially if the weather gets worse and the course becomes a bit more difficult. What happened to me today can happen to anyone, so if I play well tomorrow and get close to 10 under, I will have a good chance on Sunday.”

Pavon, who was runner-up to Rahm last year in Madrid, followed up his opening-day 63 with a 68 for an 11-under total of 131.

Wil Besseling and Shubhankar Sharma were one shot back in a tie for second at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.

“It looks like it’s really a place that suits my game,” Pavon said. “Lots of memories from last year, so I really feel comfortable on the course. I’m very pleased with the result today.”

Rahm, who started the day four shots off the lead after opening with a 67, looked out of sorts from the start and grew frustrated as the round progressed. He struggled to find the fairways – hit only five – and missed several short putts to remain in danger of missing the 2-under cut line during most of the round.

“Few times in my career I’ve hit so many good putts without making them,” Rahm said.

Rahm made only one birdie – on the par-5 seventh hole – and had two bogeys. After finishing his round, he appeared to turn the television cameras away as he walked off the 18th green in front of a disappointed home crowd.

Rahm won three of the last four Spanish Opens, including last year to match Ballesteros’ three titles. He is playing in his first tournament since helping Europe defeat the United States in the Ryder Cup two weeks ago at Marco Simone in Italy.

Justin Rose, who was also at the Ryder Cup and was the only other player in the top 50 coming into the tournament in the Spanish capital, shot 67 to sit seven shots behind Pavon.

“I think the 10-foot and ins cost me this week,” Rose said. “I think I used them all up at the Ryder Cup. I feel like I missed 13 or 14 putts inside 10 feet. I mean, I hit a lot of shots close to the flag this week and just haven’t capitalized. I need probably two 64s on the weekend just to have any chance, but playing well enough, just need that putter to warm up.”

Pavon had a bogey and eight pars on his first nine holes but finished strong with four birdies in his last six, including the final two.

Besseling stayed close behind with a 68 that included four birdies and a bogey, while Sharma joined him near the top with another round 66 after seven birdies and two bogeys.

“It was a good start yesterday and I followed it up nicely today as well,” Sharma said.

The top Spaniard going into the weekend was Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, who shot 64 for one of the best rounds of the day after making seven birdies and not dropping any shots.

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