Sergio Garcia was expected to lead Spain's six-man charge to become the country's first British Open winner since Seve Ballesteros in 1988.
Yet, on a scorching day at Muirfield on Thursday, Garcia was being firmly put in the shade by Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Playing in fast, dry conditions that made the Spanish contingent feel right at home, Cabrera-Bello shot a 4-under 67 to sit one stroke off the lead held by Zach Johnson midway through the first round at Muirfield.
The 49-year-old Jimenez - famed for his ponytail, pot belly and cigar-smoking - was a stroke further back after a 68, having led the field by three shots at one point after making five birdies in his opening nine holes.
''It was nice to come here and feel that heat,'' the 100th-ranked Cabrera-Bello said. ''Especially for me coming from the Canary Islands, it's something I really enjoy, really appreciate.
''I mean, I was enjoying every second of the day as soon as I got here.''
The spirit of ...