Saturday, February 24, 2018
Golf

Spaniard Rahm, local favorite Hurley share Congressional lead

BETHESDA, Md. — Jon Rahm was surprised about the level of fan support he has received at the Quicken Loans National, far away from his native Spain and where he went to school at Arizona State.

It helped that Rahm was playing with local guy Bobby Hurley and helped even more that the two went shot-for-shot Friday to share the lead. Rahm and Hurley were tied at 11-under 131, three strokes ahead of 53-year-old Vijay Singh going into the weekend at Congressional.

Rahm, playing his first event as a professional, said he couldn't be happier by following a great first-round 64 with a second-round 67.

"I'm just lucky to be here today," said Rahm. "If you tell me 10 years ago when I was 11 years old that I would be leading a PGA Tour event when I was 21, I wouldn't believe you."

Rahm would've had sole possession of the lead had he not missed a 10-foot par putt on the 18th hole. As a result, he was tied with Hurley, a Naval Academy graduate who lives in nearby Annapolis and grew up in Leesburg, Va.

Hearing chants of the Annapolis zip code and more from the galleries, Hurley shot 6-under 65.

"I just hit a lot of good shots," he said. "I was just able to keep the pedal down and continue to attack the golf course, which is not something you usually do around Congressional."

Before Rahm and Hurley even got onto the Blue Course on Friday, Singh put on a show to rival what Ernie Els did Thursday. Singh turned in 66 that was most memorable for his shot from the edge of the water on No. 18.

Singh hasn't won on tour since 2008. He would be the oldest PGA Tour winner if he captures the event, but he said he wasn't thinking about making that kind of history.

"It would be good to win," the three-time major champion said. "But it's only halfway, so I'll be focused on my game (today) and see what happens."

Els bogeyed holes Nos. 1 and 18 but played well enough in between to finish with 69 to get to 7 under along with Webb Simpson (68), Bill Haas (69) and Harold Varner (69). Els, 46, said he has to be happy with where he's at and hopes he and Singh can set up a vintage showdown.

"I'm not quite as old as Vijay, but I'm getting there," Els said. "He's obviously a legend of the game and done so much for the tour and a great champion. I know he's been working hard on his game, and he's been quietly optimistic. Same with me. I'd love to maybe see if we can really go low (today)"

LPGA: Japan's Ayako Uehara matched the course record with 9-under 62 to take the first-round lead at the NW Arkansas Champion­ship in Rogers. Taiwan's Candie Kung had 64, and 13 players shot 65. Top-ranked Lydia Ko opened with 66, and local favorite Stacy Lewis had 67.

CHAMPIONS: Gene Sauers rebounded from a bulging disc to share the first-round lead with Estaban Toledo at the inaugural American Family Insurance Championship in Madison, Wis. Sauers matched Toledo with 9-under 63 at University Ridge. Sauers withdrew from the Senior Players Championship two weeks because of the disc problem. Fran Quin was a stroke back, followed by Kevin Sutherland and Tom Byrum at 65.

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