Jon Rahm was delighted to give the home fans something to smile about as he fired a sensational opening 63 to put himself right in the mix after round one of the 2021 Acciona Open de España presented by Madrid.
The World Number One is looking to become just the second player in the European Tour era to win this event three times after the great Seve Ballesteros, as he looks for a third consecutive victory.
His two wins came in 2018 and 2019, with the event cancelled last season due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Rahm was happy to see the fairways lined with fans as he got to eight under at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid.
"There are quite a few fans out here and they are rather enthusiastic, they have been cooped up for too long and they have the chance to come out and watch me play," he said.
"I haven’t played on Spanish soil since this event two years ago, so they are golf hungry and they were great.
"From the beginning, every single shot and every single putt I made they were really supportive and every time I missed a shot they were extremely supportive as well, so that always helps."
Rahm made a fast start as he got to six under after eight holes and while he dropped a shot on the 18th, he made gains on the fourth, seventh and eighth to sit two shots behind Ross McGowan.
After winning this event on familiar territory at Centro Nacional de Golf in 2018, he claimed his 2019 victory here at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, and he revealed he was starting to feel at home north west of the capital.
"It was a really good start," he said. "Played eight flawless holes and then a bit of a stumble from 18 through three, I didn’t hit my best shots and was able to save a couple of pars to minimise the damage.
"After that I was able to play some good golf coming down the stretch, giving myself some chances, but obviously we saw what Ross McGowan shot this morning - ten under is a heck of a round out here.
"I played good enough to maybe do it but you have to play flawless and make the putts.
"Overall, very happy with my round.
"Last time I played here was the first time on the golf course but it didn’t take long to learn.
"You have to hit it really well off the tee, if I drive like I did early on and at the end when I was hitting it long and straight, wedges into every hole, then it is a doable score."
Rahm's fellow Spaniard Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez had missed his last nine cuts but he found his form in spectacular style, making eight birdies and an eagle with a single dropped shot to match his lowest ever European Tour score with a 62.
"My start is fantastic, it’s in my mind," he said. "I remember so many years ago playing the Open de España and it was a great moment, plus Jon Rahm is near the front and I am very good friends with him, we played a lot together and it is fantastic.
"So many fans, my friends and family are here. It's my dream!
"There were so many friends and family watching, this is my home, it is ten minutes from here, but it has been an incredible week so far."