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World No. 1 Jon Rahm shoots birdie-free 78 in opening round at Valderrama

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With a faint wave to the crowd after his final putt on Thursday at Valderrama, Jon Rahm wrapped up an opening 78 at the Andalucia Masters.

The world No. 1, playing for the second consecutive week in front of Spanish fans, failed to make a birdie in Round 1, instead carding five bogeys and one double bogey.

“It was a tough round. I was never comfortable,” Rahm said. “I don’t want to go home on Saturday, and if somebody can overcome this it’s me. But I don’t have any more room for error.”

Rahm’s return to his home country for the first time as a major champion began last week at the Spanish Open. Rahm shot 63-67 and was one shot back entering the weekend.

Is it time to panic for Rahm at Andalucia Masters?

Is it time to panic for Rahm at Andalucia Masters?

Full-field scores from the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters

But as low scores continued to be needed over the final two days at the par- 71 Club de Campo Villa, Rahm shot 72-69 and tied for 17th.

This week’s host, Real Club Valderrama, presents a much sterner test. France’s Julien Guerrier leads the way after a 4-under 67. Spanish Open champion Rafa Cabrera Bello is in second place at 3 under.

As for Rahm, his day began with a bogey on the par-4 10th and it never got better. He turned in 6-over 42, making double bogey on the par-4 18th. His second nine was filled with eight pars and one bogey.

“It’s frustrating because this is a course that I like,” he said. “With this wind the course becomes very difficult.”

The 78 is his worst aggregate score since the second round of the 2018 Open Championship, where he missed the cut, and his highest-ever score in a regular European Tour event.