Late surge sees Spain clear at World Cup of Golf

Spain birdied the final hole to sit top of the leaderboard after the opening day of foursomes at the World Cup of Golf.

The duo of Rafael Cabrera Bello and Jon Rahm went one under at the par-four 18th to card a three-under-par 69 in testing conditions in Melbourne.

It was a perfect end to an impressive round in the wind, with Cabrera Bello having earlier sunk a putt from distance to register an eagle at the eighth.

"It was a fun putt," he said. "When I was seeing it, it looked like it couldn't miss and then all of a sudden it really missed and I don't know how it came back and went in.

"It's been a fun day. We played well. It was tough and tricky with the wind but Jon played great, I rolled some putts and hit some good shots as well. It's a score we're proud of and also a score we deserve."

Rahm added: "We're playing foursomes in this kind of weather in this part of the world and on this kind of course. It's a little tricky to what I'm used to playing in the States.

"Obviously we planned a strategy which had me hitting more tee-shots. He hit a couple of great shots, rolled some putts in and that's pretty much what we needed. It wasn't so much about hitting great shots -- it was about avoiding mistakes and we did that perfectly."

Spain hold a one-shot lead over France, China and the United States, who all went round in 70 to be two under.

The French pairing of Victor Dubuisson and Romain Langasque fired four birdies and two bogeys, as did Ryder Cup-winning American pair Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler, while Wu Ashun and Hao-tong Li of China posted five birdies and three bogeys.

"I gave Rickie a couple of tough putts, but he buried them," admitted Walker. "That's what it takes to play well and stay in a golf tournament.

"The course played tough today. I thought starting out today that if you shot anything under par, it was going to be pretty good. All the par fives played straight into the wind today. So we had to battle all day, and it really was a battle at times but I feel like we came out on top."

England, represented by Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan, were a shot further back on one under along with the Italian pair of Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero, with Irish duo Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell level par alongside Sweden and Denmark.

The Australian team and pre-tournament favourites, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman, could only manage one birdie in tough, windy conditions which leaves them five behind.

"It's very tough to gauge exactly what's going on out there when it's blustery," Scott told the AAP. "But it's not that bad. You only feel bad because you're two over, but two under [which became three under] is leading. If you were four back after the first round of any other event, you wouldn't care at all."