In the opening round of the Acciona Open de España presented by Madrid, Matthew Pavon took advantage of the sunny conditions and took an early lead with an impressive 8-under 63, placing him at the top of the leaderboard.
The Frenchman returns to Madrid after securing a solo second-place finish last year. This season, he has already notched five top-10 finishes, including a notable tied sixth place finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last week.
“I feel pretty good. I hit a lot of great shots and from tee to green I was really solid. The putter was also great and overall I was amazed by the play I had today,” said Pavon as he assessed his opening round.
Pavon started off the day strong with an opening birdie and continued with an impressive series of six more birdies and an eagle on the par-five 14 th hole. He is determined to capitalise on his recent sixth-place finish and actively seeking his maiden DP World Tour victory. “The confidence is back from a small tournament I played in France. That was a local tournament and I changed my driver, changed my putter, kind of freshened everything a little bit and I finished second over there,” Pavon said. “I brought that to the Dunhill and finished sixth so lots of positives from the last three weeks and I’m trying to just build on it.
Dutchman Wil Besseling trails Pavon by just one stroke, after an opening 64 featuring eight birdies. The 37 year old shared his insights into the opening round explaining, “I have had this before in previous years coming from Dunhill and struggling in the wind and the rain and the cold, and then coming here I see the lines. I mean visually it is so different, obviously the weather as well, so I feel right at home here and it has showed in the past and again today.”
England’s Eddie Pepperell opened with a strong round of 66 to sit in tied 3 rd place alongside France’s Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Portugal’s Pedro Figueiredo. The two-time DP World Tour winner returns to Madrid for his eighth appearance in this event, having finished tied for 13th last year. Currently ranked 109 th in the Race to Dubai, he’s determined to secure a strong finish this week to help him in the battle to retain his tour card for next season. “It’s a funny game and it drives me mad. I have driven myself mad but I’m trying to just keep focused and forget about everything else that’s going on. I do need a decent result really, but the fact that I can go out there and at least focus on my game and six under, there are definitely some good rounds in me before the year is out,” said Pepperell.
Defending champion Jon Rahm closed the day tied for 13 th place carding an impressive four-under 67 during the tournament’s opening round, and all in the presence of the passionate Spanish fans at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.
Reflecting on his day Rahm said, “It’s a good score. You can’t win it on the first day, but I put myself in a good position. I just feel like I drove it so good, I wish I would have taken advantage of a couple of other opportunities right. I put myself in the right spots often enough and even a couple of holes I struggled to make a birdie on par fives are two great shots, but besides that it was a really good organise round of golf.”