Golf: 'A bit more of a grind' in the wind but Rahm grabs 2-stroke lead at Mexico Open

Spanish golfer Jon Rahm participates in the second day of activities in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on April 29, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

(REUTERS) - Former world No. 1 golfer Jon Rahm of Spain fired a five-under 66 on Friday (April 29) to seize sole possession of first place after two rounds of the Mexico Open in Vallarta, Mexico.

He entered the day as part of a six-way tie atop the leaderboard. He set himself apart with another strong round that included eight birdies and three bogeys, placing him at 12-under 130 entering the third round.

"The wind makes it a completely different golf course," the world No. 2 said. "Yesterday, except the last four holes or so, we enjoyed a wind-free day and you can be a little bit more aggressive with certain shots. Even with a couple longer irons, you're just comfortable hitting it at the pin because those greens are receptive. ...

"So I feel like I might be a little bit more satisfied with today's score than yesterday. Yesterday I felt like I was really under control and relatively speaking stress-free, right? Today was a bit more of a grind, but still a really good round of golf."

Alex Smalley is two strokes behind Rahm at 10 under after also recording a 66 on Friday. The American drained an eagle from 165 yards on the par-four third hole, and he added five birdies and two bogeys during the round.

Six players, all American, are tied for third place, three strokes off the lead at nine under.

Adam Long, Cameron Champ and Patrick Reed are included in the logjam at third place after shooting 66 in the second round. Andrew Novak (67), Brandon Hagy (67) and Trey Mullinax (69) are also on 133 after two rounds.

Long said he could start feeling the energy from being in contention as the weekend approached.

"I guess you feel it a little bit now," he said. "You know that the weekend's going to mean a lot and you're going to have a chance on the weekend if you have two more good rounds, you'll be right there. But there is certainly a lot of golf left."

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