Rahm falters in quest for Spanish Open

AAPPress Association
Jon Rahm had a bad day at his home Spanish Open to fall six shots off the lead.
Camera IconJon Rahm had a bad day at his home Spanish Open to fall six shots off the lead. Credit: EPA

Former Ryder Cup star Rafa Cabrera Bello leads by two shots going into the final round of his home championship at the Spanish Open after world No.1 Jon Rahm had a day to forget in Madrid.

Cabrera Bello was undefeated in three matches as Europe were beaten at Hazeltine in 2016 and the following year won the Scottish Open en route to reaching a career-high 17th in the world rankings.

But he has dropped to 231st in the years since and admitted upon arrival in the Spanish capital that he had at times felt "lost" as his form deserted him.

But a bogey-free third-round 64 saw him rediscover some of his old magic on Saturday as he moved to 17 under, six shots clear of Rahm, who entered the weekend one off the lead but will now have a mountain to climb to make it three consecutive wins in this event.

Huge galleries followed the US Open champion in the final group of the day but as he slipped to three over after 12 holes, many of them moved to watch Cabrera Bello, who is looking to complete the set of Spanish national championships.

"It would be amazing," he said. "I've won every Spanish amateur title there is and I'm missing this one which would be the pinnacle of Spanish golf.

"I'm going to have a very good chance at it tomorrow but I'm sure there'll be more chances in the future too so I'll just go out there, have fun, feed off the crowd and try to put on a show for them again.

"Today was one of my favourite days ever out there, in front of my countrymen, playing on a course that I love and with beautiful conditions, I felt really good."

The 37-year-old birdied the fourth, sixth and eighth and joined the lead thanks to a tee shot to six feet on the ninth as he turned in 32.

A hat-trick of gains from the 13th then handed him a two-shot advantage over fellow Spaniard Adri Arnaus and Frenchman Julien Guerrier, with England's Jack Senior at 14 under after a 65.

Top Australian remains Min Woo Lee but his third round, a one under 70, still keeps him down in 42nd place on a total of seven under, 10 off the pace.

Perth's Jason Scrivener also shot a 70 to lie at four under for the tournament.

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