Jon Rahm is the biggest star in the Mexico Open and he lived up to his billing on Thursday with a seven-under 64 for a six-way share of the lead in the first round.
Rahm chipping in for birdie and making a late eagle putt to join Jonathan Byrd, Brendon Todd, Trey Mullinax and Monday qualifier Bryson Nimmer from the morning wave.
Nimmer played his final five holes in five-under, including a bunker shot he holed out for eagle on the par-5 6th hole.
Kurt Kitayama faced the strength of the afternoon wind and made nine birdies, getting up-and-down from behind the green on the par-5 18th for his 64.
The Mexico Open is part of the PGA Tour schedule and inherits the history of a national open that dates to 1944. It takes the place of the WGC-Mexico Championship that was at Chapultepec in Mexico City for four years through 2020.
Rahm knew very little about the Vidanta Vallarta course except that he felt comfortable off the tee, and it showed. The Spaniard missed only one fairway, and three greens.
He opened with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 12th hole, but it was the chip-in from 30 feet on the 13th that really got him going. He had to save par on the 10th and 11th holes at the start of his round.
"I hadn't hit my best irons shots early on," Rahm said. "Chipped that one in from an uncomfortable lie and a tough one. That was a huge bonus.
"I think a lot of people obviously would look at the eagle on seven, but that one early on was a huge booster."
The eagle on the 311-yard 7th hole was set up by a big drive to the middle of the green on the par-4 and a 40-foot putt that gave him a share of the lead.
Rahm also made birdie on each of the three par-5s on the back nine, and perhaps his finest shot was his approach from 206 yards to just inside four feet for birdie on the par-4 4th.
"I hadn't hit my best irons shots early on. Chipped one in from an uncomfortable lie and a tough one. That was a huge bonus." - Jon Rahm.
Nimmer finished with a blaze of good shots. After a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 5th, he holed out for eagle, pitched to two feet on the reachable 7th and made a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 9th to close out his round.
Aaron Rai, Aaron Wise, Sahith Theegala and Scott Brown were at 65. Rai and Theegala could use top finishes this week to move up in PGA Championship points and try to secure a spot at Southern Hills in three weeks.
Next week is the final event for players to qualify in points, which is PGA Tour earnings.
Rahm and Abraham Ancer (71) are the only players from the top-20 in the world at the Mexico Open. That allowed for players like Byrd, who has status as a past champion, to get in.
Patrick Reed won the Mexico Championship at Chapultepec two years ago. He had six birdies in his round of 68, leaving him three shots behind.
Australia's Brett Drewitt shot a three-under 68 to be tied 34th. He is one ahead of compatriot Greg Chalmers, while Matt Jones was even for the round.