Spain's Cabrera Bello, Rahm lead World Cup

Thanks to a round of 3-under 69 Thursday, Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello and Jon Rahm lead the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf by one shot over the United States, France and China. Here’s where things stand after the opening round of alternate shot on a windy day at Australia’s Kingston Heath:

Leaderboard: Cabrera Bello/Rahm (Spain) -3, Victor Dubuisson/Romain Langasque (France) -2, Ashun Wu/Haotong Li (China) -2, Rickie Fowler/Jimmy Walker (United States) -2, Chris Wood/Andy Sullivan (England) -1, Francesco Molinari/Matteo Manassero (Italy) -1

What it means: Spain is looking for its fifth World Cup win and first since 1984. The Spaniards won four out of eight World Cups from 1976-1984 led initially by Seve Ballesteros and later by Jose Maria Canizares. In the group of teams just one back, Fowler and Walker are looking to become the latest American success story and to lock down the United States’ 25th win at this event. Australia and South Africa are the next closest countries, with five wins each. 

Round of the day: Cabrera Bello and Rahm were the only team to break 70 Thursday, posting a 3-under 69 in blustery conditions that allowed only six of 28 teams to shoot under par. The duo made up for its only bogey of the day, at the par-4 fourth, with an eagle at the par-5 eighth before adding two more birdies on the back to take a one-shot lead after 18 holes.

Best of the rest: Both France and the United States held the outright lead at 3 under before giving shots back. For China, Wu and Li made a Thursday-best five birdies 

Biggest disappointment: Australia’s Adam Scott and Jason Day won this event in 2013, but Scott and his new partner Marc Leishman got off to a less-than-ideal start in their title defense. Playing in the same group with Fowler and Walker, the Aussies went out in 2-over 37 and didn’t make a birdie until the 15th hole. They dropped a final shot at the home when Leishman missed the putting surface, Scott played from a greenside collection area and Leishman failed to make the putt for par. Scott tapped in for a round of 2-over 74 that has the defending champions and host nation five back.

Shot of the day: With the U.S. treading water for 12 holes, Walker holed out from the greenside bunker at No. 13, setting off a streak of three straight American birdies.