Thursday, October 20, 2016

Marc Warren leads with an eight-under 63 at 

Vilamoura in Portugal Masters

Marc Warren, pictured, capitalised on a blistering start to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Portugal Masters.
When the Scot began his round with six straight birdies, the talk of a potential 59 on the rough-free lay-out at Victoria Clube de Golfe, Vilamoura  looked like it may be proved correct but a bogey on the seventh stalled the momentum as he went on to make three further gains in an eight under par 63.
Warren is safe at 67th in the Race to Dubai but some of the players in the field are battling to keep their playing privileges, none more so than Eddie Pepperell, who holds the 110th spot.
The Englishman made a mockery of the pressure of that situation by firing a 64 to sit a shot off the lead alongside countrymen Matthew Baldwin and Callum Shinkwin, Finn Mikko Kornhonen and American David Lipsky.

Korhonen needs to finish in the top 26 this weekend to have a chance of keeping his card while nothing but a top-two finish will do for Baldwin.
Swede Jens Fahrbring also needs to finish in the top two and he was at six under alongside Spanish duo Alejandro Cañizares and Nacho Elvira, England's Chris Paisley and Frenchman Edouard España.
With the back nine scoring lower than the front, when Warren made a seventh birdie of the day on the ninth, the hopes of a potential 59 were still very much alive.
A run of three pars ended that but a stunning tee-shot on the 13th set up another gain with a birdie following on the 15th.
"I think I've had six or seven in a row but never at the start of the round," he said. "It's an absolutely perfect start. Everything was going right for me, just the right numbers and landing it close and a couple of tap-ins. It was a great start.
"You really have to control your expectations I think more than anything else. You kind of want to just keep hitting it close and making birdies and realise golf is not that easy.
"There are a few holes where you're going to have to dig in and overall I was pleased to keep moving forward on the back nine and come back in two under."
Pepperell bogeyed the first and ninth but added three birdies to turn in 34 before picking up six shots in five holes. That was mainly due to some dialled-in iron play with beautiful approaches to the tenth and 11th and a stunning second to the 12th setting up an eagle.
He almost made an ace on the 13th and then put his approach to ten feet on the next to get right among the leaders.
A trip to the Qualifying School should provide no fear for Korhonen who came through that test in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 when he finished first, but he will not need to make the journey should he continue his early form.
The 36 year old turned in 33 with three birdies and a bogey but then rattled off five birdies in a row to take a share of the lead. A bogey followed on the 16th but a stunning approach to tap-in range brought a ninth birdie of the day on the last.
Lipsky had been the first man to finish on seven under, turning in 35 after starting on the tenth but making six birdies on the front nine to fly up the leaderboard.
Shinkwin also started on the tenth and overcame a double-bogey on the 11th to turn in 32 and then take the same amount of blows on the front nine, while Baldwin recorded eight birdies and a single blemish.
Paul Lawrie is the second best Scot in the overnight scores. He shot a 66 to be T12. Stephen Gallacher had a 67 for T22.
Defending champion Andy Sullivan was at four under alongside in-form Alex Noren.
Par 71. Yardage 7,146yd
63 M Warren
64 E Pepperell, D Lipsky, M Korhonen, C Shinkwin, M Baldwin.

66 P Lawrie (T12)
67 S Gallacher (T22)
69 S Jamieson, D Drysdale (T52)
70 A McArthur (T71) 
71 R Ramsay )T83)
73 C Lee (T107)
75 J McLeary (T121)





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