It was an ill wind that blew into Villamartin after lunch and wrecked many cards in the opening round of the Segura Viudas Challenge de Espana. But by then England’s Iain Pyman and Spaniards Juan Quiros and Eduardo de la Riva had grabbed the lead on 68.
The trio are a stroke clear of a group of eight players including England’s Mark Foster, the winner of the Stanbic Zambia Open earlier this month, promising Spaniard Juan Carlos Aguero, and Stuart Little of England, fresh from his win in last Saturday's Sunningdale Foursomes.
Pyman, who won twice on the Challenge Tour in 1999 to earn a return ticket to the main tour, feels he is making his 2001 tour debut despite playing in the Kenya Open last month. Then he was suffering from flu and compounded it by missing the cut.
Starting at the 10th tee at Villamartin, two early birdies got him going, the first at the 14th with a 30-foot putt. Despite dropping his only shot at the first when he drove in to the trees, Pyman grabbed three more birdies to set the target.
"After six holes I was two under par yet I missed absolutely everything. But I got away with my bad shots," he said.
Quiros, at 45, a veteran who won twice on the Spanish Tour last year, had seven birdies in his 68 and declared: "I putted like the angels. It's the best I've played on the greens for many years."
De la Riva, son of the managing director of the El Prat club, only turned professional in December but showed he can be a class act as he didn't drop a shot in his four-birdie 68.
Foster, who completed his maiden pro victory in Zambia, also putted well but was critical of his long game. "I wasn't that good from tee to green but my short game was sharp," he said.
Most of the low scores came from the morning starters but those out in the afternoon weren't so fortunate as a strong wind blew in and sent scores soaring.