Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez rolled in five successive birdies to take a share of the first round lead with Welshman Phil Price on seven-under-par in the Benson and Hedges International Open at the Oxfordshire.
Jimenez, winner of the Turespana Masters - Open Andalucia earlier this year, putted superbly in his run of birdies from the third, his 12th, for a homeward nine of 31 and a round of 65.
“I putted really well on the second nine and I’ve been playing well for a while now,” he said. “The putting really made a difference today.”
He shares the lead with Price who opened with two birdies and, after reaching the turn in 32, stroked in another three birdies in the space of four holes at the start of the back nine.
Price, who finished 15th in the 1998 Volvo Order of Merit, said: “Last year I achieved all my goals and then got a little complacent towards the end of the year. This year I have set higher targets.”
The pair lead by two from South Africa’s Roger Wessels while a further shot back is a group of players on four-under that includes Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, and Bernhard Langer.
Montgomerie said: “I feel a four-under round here today is a good score and I’m very happy. It wasn’t easy out there – it was quite cold and then it became very wet and quite breezy.
Spain’s Francis Valera recorded an albatross by holing 247-yards three iron second shot on the 533-yards par-five 11th.