Home favourite Jon Rahm sets up potential grandstand finish at Spanish Open

Jon Rahm fired a flawless 65 to climb to the top of the Spanish Open leaderboard and move a step closer to matching the great Seve Ballesteros.

Ballesteros won his home open three times and Rahm, a winner of this event in 2018 and 2019, has the treble in his sights after reaching 16 under.

He will have to fight off Min Woo Lee - his playing partner for every round of this tournament - and a bunched-up chasing pack at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.

Australian Lee, a two-time DP World Tour winner, is just a shot back after his 66.

Rahm was two shots behind the overnight leaders, Scotland's Stephen Gallacher and Englishman Paul Waring, at the start of his round and the Spaniard birdied the fourth and then picked up another shot at the seventh, despite leaving an awkward up-and-down after missing the green to the left of the par-five.

Lee went one better with an eagle after smashing a seven-iron 241 yards down the hill to a few feet before knocking in the putt - and it was the Australian and Gallacher out in front.

Rahm watched Lee reach 14 under at the 11th when he rolled in a 22-footer with a touch of left-to-right, but he made sure the gap stayed just one by following him in from 11 feet for his own birdie.

The locals loved that and they were cheering again when Rahm almost holed his approach to the par-four 12th, the ball spinning back past the cup and leaving a tricky putt for birdie - but he holed it and took a share of pole position.

Rahm left his eagle putt at the par-five 14th just a touch short but walked off with birdie and led on his own at 15 under when Lee could only par after going long with his second.

A mini-run of pars followed for the pair but Rahm had to work hard at 17, holing a tricky save from seven feet after finding sand with his tee shot.

Rahm's eagle putt at 18 did not have the legs but he tapped in for birdie before Lee held his nerve and holed his own birdie effort from 14 feet to set up a mouth-watering Sunday.

"I'm feeling good," said Rahm. "I wish most of my rounds could be as organised as this one.

"I don't feel like I did anything special, maybe the up-and-down on 17, but I just played consistent golf, put the ball in play, and the few times I missed the tee shot I was never really out of it."

On playing with Lee again, he said: "It's been great, we have played really good golf.

"It is easy to feed off each other, every time one of us is on the fairway we are going to have a birdie look, so you know birdies are coming.

"Hopefully my best round can be tomorrow. Let's hope for that and have an enjoyable walk down 18. That would be a perfect day."

Gallacher, Marc Warren, Eddie Pepperell, Louis De Jager, Matthieu Pavon and Kiradech Aphibarnrat are three off the lead on 13 under.

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