PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Among the revelations of the first round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach was 26-year-old Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello, whose golf clubs were lost en route to Monterey, forcing him to play his first practice round in his head as he walked the course.
Cabrera-Bello shot a one-under-par 70 to briefly hold the lead in his first major championship start, but by the end of the day he trailed leaders Paul Casey, Brandon DeJonge and Shaun Micheel by one.
"I was having a laugh," Cabrera-Bello said of his unlikely position near the top, and, as it turned out, well ahead of Phil Mickelson (75) and Tiger Woods (74). "I'm going
like, okay, what's going on right here? What am I doing up there?"
He was also good-humored about Spain's shocking loss to Switzerland in the World Cup: "Everyone I see it's like, 'Hey, how is
soccer going?' And I'm like, 'Oh,
Cabrera-Bello had never traveled farther west than Arizona before coming to Pebble Beach. He survived hitting a 2-iron "to the middle of the Pacific" on 18 and, after indulging the press, he walked off to enjoy the afternoon with his parents, Rafael and Emma, who watched his amazing round."I mean, just finishing my first
round and getting back to the clubhouse with my parents being here with me and
seeing my name on the top of the leaderboard for now, and that's about as good
as--well, that's much better than what I was thinking," he said.