Rahm grabs US PGA lead
Jon Rahm of Spain chips onto the green on the thirteenth hole during the first round of the Quicken Loans National golf.
New York - Jon Rahm took some advice from legend Jack Nicklaus
Jon Rahm took some advice from legend Jack Nicklaus and it paid off on Thursday with a seven-under par 64 in his first professional round to seize the US PGA National lead.
Rahm, a 21-year-old Spaniard, made a bogey-free start to his pro career at Congressional Country Club to grab a one-stroke lead over Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas at the Tiger Woods-hosted tournament.
South Africa's Ernie Els, who won one of his four major titles at Congressional in the 1997 US Open, was in a pack of eight sharing third on 66. After sharing 23rd as the low amateur at last week's US Open at Oakmont, Rahm chatted with 18-time major champion Nicklaus, seeking some lessons on his new career.
"Jack knows a lot about golf and a lot about life," Rahm said. "He has so much experience and he never said anything too complicated. He told me to just be myself and not try to do more than what I can do.
"I certainly put that on today and played probably some of the best golf I can play." Rahm, a former world amateur number one who idolizes the late Spanish star Seve Ballesteros, began on the back nine at the tricky par-3 10th but cleared the water and made par.
"I was really anxious on the tee," Rahm said. "I knew I had one of the hardest par-3s I'm going to play all week in front of me. A 6-iron over water, hit a good shot on the green, two putt and I got my round started." A 27-foot birdie putt at the 12th followed and Rahm dropped his approach at 14 inches from the cup for a tap-in birdie, then closed his first nine holes with another 27-foot birdie putt.