DUBAI – Jon Rahm made the best start of the five players still in the running for the Race to Dubai title, shooting 6-under 66 to be three strokes off the first-round lead at the season-ending World Tour Championship on Thursday.
Mike Lorenzo-Vera led the tournament after a 9-under 63 on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates and was one clear of No. 2-ranked Rory McIlroy, who made eagle on No. 18 in his round of 64 after hitting a 3-wood from 286 yards to within about five feet.
Rahm was alone in third place after a bogey-free round during which he made four birdies in five holes early in his back nine.
Tommy Fleetwood, another player in with a chance of ending the season as European No. 1, was a stroke behind on 5 under after starting his round by holing out from 153 yards for eagle on No. 1.
Of the other Race to Dubai contenders, Bernd Wiesberger shot 70 and was tied for 14th place, Matt Fitzpatrick shot 71 and Shane Lowry shot 73.
Wiesberger leads the standings and will lift the trophy if he wins in Dubai or finishes alone in second place.
Fleetwood, second in the standings, knows a win coupled with Wiesberger finishing lower than outright second will see him capture the title for the second time in three years. The same scenario faces third-place Rahm, who won the World Tour Championship in 2017 and placed fourth last year.