Can Jon Rahm equal Seve Ballesteros? He’s trying his best at the Spanish Open.

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Justly so, Seve Ballesteros is regarded in Spanish circles as the nation’s greatest golf product, revered for his five victories in major tournaments and leading the all-time list of European Tour winners with 50 titles.

But Jon Rahm is carving out his own slice of Spanish golf history, having held the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking for more than a year and becoming the first Spaniard to capture the U.S. Open.

This week, Rahm is trying to equal Ballesteros’ mark of winning the Spanish Open three times, and if Thursday’s opening round is any indication, he just might do it.

Rahm, who won the event in 2018 and 2019 but couldn’t go for a natural three-peat since it was canceled last year due to COVID, fired an opening-round 63 at Clube de Campo Villa de Madrid. Ballesteros won the event in 1981, 1985 and in his final Euro Tour victory in 1995.

“It would be very unique. I know names like Ollie (Jose Maria Olazabal), he couldn’t win it,” Rahm said earlier in the week. “I would hope to be able to get to a third not only to tie Seve but to win it three times in a row.”

There’s still work to be done as Rahm is two shots off the pace after the opening round — Englishman Ross McGowan led the way with a 61 while Sebastián García Rodríguez is alone in second after firing a 62.

Rahm was a star at Arizona State and now lives in Scottsdale, but he was thrilled at the reception he received.

“When I see my face on buses and billboards I realize the impact that I’ve had,” he said. “Little by little I’m getting used to it. I’m very motivated, there is nothing like the support of these fans.”