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Jon Rahm details pressure-filled LIV Golf debut at Mayakoba

2024 LIV Golf Mayakoba

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico —Teeing it up on Mayakoba’s El Camaleón Golf Course may seem like nothing new for Jon Rahm given his three previous appearances on the Riviera Maya on the PGA Tour from 2014-2016, but the Spaniard felt the nerves on Friday as he made his LIV Golf debut.

“Yeah, I could feel the pressure, but it’s a good thing, right?” said Rahm, who fired a 5-under 66 to sit T-4 one shot behind Sergio Garcia, two shots behind Patrick Reed and a whopping seven shots behind Joaquin Niemann after his historic 12-under 59. “It’s weird; you do get to pick a song for the first tee, and I thought maybe it was going to help. If anything, it gave it a little bit more — the heartbeat went a little bit up just from hearing a song you like.”

“I’m like, I feel confident, but the added pressure that it’s one of my favorite songs,” Rahm said of Bad Bunny’s hit track, Monaco, “but it helped because I hit a great tee shot to start the day. I felt it, but after the tee shot and the second shot and making that putt, it felt like I settled in pretty nicely.”

That’s putting it lightly. Starting on the first hole alongside Cam Smith (Ripper GC) and Talor Gooch (Smash GC) Rahm birdied five of his first seven holes to storm out the gate, which normally would put him at the top of the leaderboard if it weren’t for Niemann.

“I didn’t see him early on, and then when I was 5 under and I was tied for fourth, I was like, ‘Somebody is — I was 5 under through 7, and I was third, so I was like, ‘Okay, clearly everybody is going off.’”

After the turn, Rahm added to his tally with a pair of birdies on Nos. 13 and 15 and was cruising through the back nine until he leaked a bit of oil coming in with two bad bogeys on the 17th and 18th holes.

“I feel like one of those bogeys, 17, was avoidable. 18 was just unfortunate,” he explained. “But it doesn’t take away from how good I played those first 16 holes. It was nice to get off the jump, just get going and play good golf. So far I would say it was a very successful start.”

Seven shots back is quite the mountain to climb, especially with only 36 holes left compared to the 54 that Rahm is used to. Despite the deficit, Rahm is more focused on what he didn’t do to close out his round than what Niemann did to take his lead.

2024 LIV Golf Mayakoba

Captain Jon Rahm of Legion XIII warms up in the practice area during day one of the LIV Golf Invitational – Mayakoba at El Camaleon at Mayakoba on February…


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