BETHESDA, Md. — Jon Rahm couldn’t remember a single shot he took in a professional debut to remember. Ernie Els recalled shots he hit on the same course 19 years ago.

Rahm shot a 7-under 64 on Thursday at Congressional to take the first-round lead in the Quicken Loans National, Tiger Woods’ annual tournament, which started two hours late because of rain.

The soft course allowed players to attack fairways and play aggressively. Rahm took advantage of that with seven birdies in a bogey-free round.

“I was anticipating this moment,” the 21-year-old Spaniard said. “I’m working on it a long time that I kind of blacked out a little bit. I don’t remember a single swing I made all day or any putting stroke or anything. I just remember the ball flying or rolling.”

The former Arizona State star was the only amateur to make the cut last week in the U.S. Open, tying for 23rd at Oakmont. With momentum from the U.S. Open, Rahm tried to temper his expectations and relied on advice from golf great Jack Nicklaus.

“What he told me is to just never do more than what I can do,” said Rahm, who cited not looking at social media as another key to his success.

The long-hitting Rahm had a one-stroke lead over Jhonattan Vegas and a two-stroke advantage over a pack that included Els, who won the 1997 U.S. Open at Congressional. Rickie Fowler and Vijay Singh were among those at 68.

Els, who turned pro five years before Rahm was born, chose to play the Quicken Loans immediately after missing the cut at the U.S. Open because of how much he likes the course. He has the same caddie, Ricci Roberts, who was on his bag back in 1997, and Thursday was full of memories.

“Winning a major at a special place like Congressional, playing here again, you just keep thinking back on shots,” Els said. “Almost every single hole there’s a moment back in ’97 where we can remember still.”

EUROPEAN TOUR: France’s Raphael Jacquelin shot a 7-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead over England’s Oliver Fisher in the BMW International Open at Pulheim, Germany.

Spain’s Sergio Garcia, coming off a fifth-place tie in the U.S. Open, had a 71. Masters champion Danny Willett of England opened with a 74.