Simon Thornton fired a six under par 65 to grab a share of the first round lead at the Portugal Masters on Thursday.
The Newcastle based professional, who won at St Omer in June, is part of a seven strong group that leads the way after round one.
“It’s always nice to get off to a good start. I hit the ball lovely off the tee which helps, and I have to say, coming from the practice round on Tuesday, which
was terrible for me, it’s a complete change around in the game,” said Thornton. Former champion Alvaro Quiros recovered well from two early bogeys to join Thornton in the lead alongside Chilean Felipe Aguilar, Welshman Jamie Donaldson, German Max Kieffer, Englishmen David Lynn and Graeme Storm. Nine players were a stroke back at five under after a day of perfect conditions on Portugal’s Algarve.
“The putting was beautiful today,” said Quiros, who recently moved to nearby Vilamoura. “That was maybe the key, because that’s the only difference between an average score and a good score, and that’s the only thing I’ve been missing.”
Michael Hoey is tied for 30th after a three under par round of 68 at the Arnold Palmer designed course in the Algarve but Gareth Maybin opened with a disappointing four over 75.