Jon Rahm in contention to defend Spanish Open title

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Jon Rahm in contention to defend Spanish Open title

Euro Tour

Jon Rahm in contention to defend Spanish Open title

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There’s a good chance a Spaniard will win the $1.65 million Spanish Open. Just don’t expect bookmakers to give you generous odds on that happening.

Four Spaniards sit atop the leaderboard with 36 holes left to play in one of the European Tour’s oldest championships. Rafa Cabrera Bello and Adri Arnaus share the lead on 11 under par, with Samuel Del Val holding solo third on 10 under. Defending champion Jon Rahm is a shot further back in fourth.

Cabrera Bello is bogey free for the first 36 holes at Club de Campo in Madrid. He added a 6-under 65 to his opening 66 as he seeks his first European Tour win since the 2017 Scottish Open.

“You don’t get to go bogey free very often, and two days in a row – I’m not sure how many times I’ve done that,” Cabrera Bello said. “I’m very pleased with how I’m playing. I’m feeling confident out there and in control of my game.”

SPANISH OPEN: Leaderboard | Odds

Challenge Tour graduate Arnaus is chasing his first European Tour win. Although Cabrera Bello and Rahm will be favored, the 24-year-old will be hard to beat. He’s finished second three times this season.

“I’m really proud of how I’ve played these first two rounds,” Arnaus said.

“You’re always a little bit nervous, but at the end it’s just going out there and playing your best golf and hopefully we can have some good rounds, and on Sunday we’ll see how it turns out.”

Rahm double bogeyed the second hole, but bounced back with seven birdies and just one dropped shot over the remaining 16 holes to stay in contention.

“I was lucky to only be two over through two, I saved a heck of a par on that first hole,” the World No. 5 said. “It was a little shaky, but things like that happen. I was battling bad swings two days ago, yesterday was great, today I was trying to find the same feeling but I figured it out after that double bogey.

“My body is feeling good and I’m hoping to start well tomorrow, give an early scare to these guys and get the lead.”

Del Val is the surprise name on the leaderboard. He’s making a rare foray on the European Tour. Mostly, he’s just looking for a tour to call home.

“This is my 20th week of the last 23,” the 32-year-old said. “I’ve been away from home for four months. I live in the States in Atlanta. I’ve been playing PGA Tour China, had some invites on the Challenge Tour too. After losing my card on the Web.com Tour last year, I decided to try and have both ways to get back to where I think I should be playing.”

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