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Rahm grabs 2-shot lead going into weekend at Mexico Open | Sports

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico — Jon Rahm confronted the wind and treated it simply as smartly Friday within the Mexico Open, making 8 birdies on his approach to a 5-under 66 that staked the arena’s No. 2 participant to a two-shot lead over Alex Smalley.

Rahm birdied all 4 of the par 5s, together with the 18th hollow at Vallarta Vidanta with a 4-iron from mild tough to only wanting the fairway, a pitch to six ft and one ultimate putt.

He used to be at 12-under 130 going into the weekend.

Smalley used to be enjoying at the different aspect of the direction, the place he did maximum of his paintings. The spotlight used to be holing out from 165 yards at the par-4 3rd hollow for eagle. He had eagle probabilities on consecutive holes past due in his spherical, two-putting from 35-feet at the par-5 6th and using the 291-yard 7th hollow to 30 ft for every other two-putt birdie.

He completed with a 66 and will likely be within the ultimate crew with Rahm.

Rahm used to be two pictures upper then his opening spherical, by which the Spaniard by no means needed to take care of the wind till the general 4 holes. This used to be one felt even higher.

“I feel like I might be a little bit more satisfied with today’s score than yesterday,” Rahm mentioned. “Yesterday I felt like I was really under control and relatively speaking stress free. Today was a bit more of a grind, but still a really good round of golf.”

Patrick Reed ran off two past due birdies and used to be poised to near out his spherical with a 3rd in a row till a pedestrian pitch from simply wanting the fairway at the par-5 18th. He needed to accept par and a 66, leaving him in a big crew that used to be 3 pictures in the back of.

Cameron Champ, who performed along Rahm and treated the wind along with his penetrating ball flight, had a 66 to succeed in 9-under 133. Champ and Reed have been joined through Trey Mullinax (69), Adam Long (66) and Andrew Novak (67).

Rahm performed a very good shot from a waste space smartly proper of the fairway at the par-5 14th to about 3 ft. What actually happy him used to be his 6-iron at the par-3 9th, over water whilst seeking to navigate the gusts.

“The 6-iron was perfect. And having 3 feet for birdie there, it’s a huge bonus,” Rahm mentioned. “I think my iron game was really, really good today. It was really under control and in those windy conditions I was hitting it really, really solid so. I was never really too surprised where my ball was ending up and I was always in a good position.”

Smalley, a Duke graduate in his rookie yr at the PGA Tour, had a runner-up end within the Dominican Republic a month in the past. Both classes have the similar roughly grass at the vegetables, and Smalley mentioned he picked up quite a lot of revel in enjoying within the ultimate crew at the weekend, beginning with the realization he can compete on excursion.

He additionally used to be a handy guide a rough find out about at the wind, that made one of the crucial par 4s harder to succeed in than one of the crucial 600-yard par 5s.

Smalley had a 5-iron for his 2d shot into the 608-yard 6th. Two holes later, he had 3-wood for his 2d shot at the 515-yard 8th hollow, slightly attaining the entrance of the fairway. That resulted in a good looking lag from 65 ft for a par.

“That’s what happens when you have winds that are gusting 25,” Smalley mentioned. “I was able to keep the ball in play and was able to get out of those holes that were playing really long, and happy I’m done with them.”

Scott Brown, Jonathan Byrd and Davis Riley, who misplaced in a playoff on the Valspar Championship previous this yr, have been within the crew at 8-under 134, 4 pictures in the back of.

The reduce used to be at 2-under 140. Among the ones making it to the weekend have been the Ortiz brothers of Guadalajara — Alvaro shot 69 and used to be at 5-under 137, whilst Carlos, a PGA Tour winner, had a 69 and used to be at 3-under 139. Abraham Ancer, a part of 10 Mexican avid gamers within the box and No. 20 on the earth rating, had a 69 and made the reduce at the quantity.

The job for everybody is chasing Rahm, going for his first victory of the yr.

“I’ve been playing really good,” he mentioned. “I can’t really complain about anything I’m doing right now, so hopefully I can keep that good ball-striking going and keep rolling it the way I have.”

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