Sergio Garcia made the perfect start to his CASTELLÓ MASTERS Costa Azahar title defence at Club de Campo del Mediterráneo - his home course.
Garcia is yet to record a win since he kicked off The Race to Dubai in style with victory at the HSBC Champions, but with five birdies across his first eight holes the Spaniard quickly set about trying to end that run.
Starting at the tenth, The World Number Ten opened with back-to-back birdies, picked up another shot on the short par four 14th and added consecutive birdies once more at the 16th and 17th to reach five under par before the turn at the club where his father is the professional
Garcia is also the tournament host this week, and will be keen to win to boost his Race to Dubai challenge, where he currently lies 13th.
One behind in the early exchanges were another Spaniard - Pablo Martin - who reached four under through nine holes, and Sweden’s Michael Jonzon, who had also reached the turn.
Both required a good performance this week - at 111th and 158th respectively on The Race to Dubai neither player is yet certain to finish in the top 115 that automatically retain their card for The European Tour 2010 International Schedule.
By making a birdie on the 18th as well Garcia turned in just 29 and when he started the front nine with another he was already seven under.
Jonzon was keeping pace with him at that stage, but a superb chip to within three feet on the long fourth took Garcia to eight under.