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Jon Rahm on top at Congressional in pro debut

By The Sports Xchange
Jon Rahm on top at Congressional in pro debut
Jon Rahm watches his approach shot from the walking path on the 18th hole during the third round at the U.S. Open golf championship at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh, on June 18, 2016. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

A week after being the lone amateur to make the cut at the U.S. Open, Jon Rahm shot a 7-under 64 on Thursday at Congressional to take the early first-round lead in the Quicken Loans National in Bethesda, Md.

The former Arizona State star was making his professional debut at Tiger Woods' annual tournament, which started two hours late because of rain.

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The 21-year-old started his round at the 10th hole and sank three birdies over his first nine holes before picking up another four in the round.

"I was really comfortable off the tee with the driver, hitting it good and hitting it straight, so that allowed me to be a little more aggressive and it paid off," Rahm said.

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Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas is one shot back after shooting a 65.

Jamie Lovemark, Kyle Reifers, Colombia's Camilo Villegas, Bill Haas, South Africa's Ernie Els, Harold Varner III, Billy Hurley III and Wesley Bryan all sit at 66, two shots back.

The 46-year-old Els hasn't won since taking the British Open almost four years ago.

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Vegas bogeyed his second hole of the day on the 7,569-yard course, but he followed with seven birdies and no bogeys the rest of the way.

"I had some great rounds earlier in the year, but this round on this golf course, even with the greens a little bit softer, is a great round," Vegas said. "You feel pretty comfortable any time you can shoot 65 on a course like this. ...

"Some of these fairways are super tight, though it helps having the fairways a fraction softer. But to hit 11 fairways around here (as I did), you can be more aggressive toward some of these pins."

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Vegas, who captured the 2011 Bob Hope Classic, is looking for his second PGA Tour victory.

Defending Quicken Loans National champion Troy Merrick shot an even-par 71 to tie for 72nd. Rickie Fowler, the runner-up at Congressional last year, is tied for 22nd after a 68.

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