China 1 stroke behind Spain at World Cup as Li, Wu soar

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A miraculous putt from Rafa Cabrera Bello on the 18th green gave Spain the lead after a challenging opening round of the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne yesterday.

Cabrera Bello and his youthful teammate Jon Rahm executed a flawless game plan in the blustery conditions, which made foursomes — alternate shot — play difficult for the two-man teams at Kingston Heath.

With only six countries returning scores under par, the Spanish combination took a one-shot lead over the United States, France and China — courtesy of the late birdie that resulted from Cabrera Bello's snaking 15-foot putt.

Rahm drove the ball magnificently and Cabrera Bello did the rest around the greens as the pair gelled well to notch a 3-under-par 69 ahead of today's fourballs.

Cabrera Bello said he could not believe his last putt had dropped.

"I thought I had holed it, then it looked like it was going to miss right and then, I don't know how, maybe someone upstairs put some backspin on it to go in the hole," the two-time European Tour winner said.

Spain will be grouped on the second day with France whose Victor Dubuisson and Romain Langasque returned a 2-under par round of 70.

Pre-tournament favorites, the US, with Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, made the most of every opportunity to card a 70.

US PGA champion Walker holed a sensational bunker shot on the 13th to ignite a run of two more birdies.

It was another "unbelievable" putt on the 18th green from China's Wu Ashun that helped him and Li Haotong emerge as crowd favorites in a round of 2-under 70.

The China pair had the galleries cheering as they drained a series of long putts and celebrated each with jumping chest bumps.

Host Australia battled all day just to stay at 2-over 74, five shots behind Spain. Playing alongside the Americans, world No. 7 Adam Scott and Marc Leishman struggled to get the ball close to the pin.

South African pair Jaco van Zyl and George Coetzee stumbled seven shots behind the leader with a 4-over 76.

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