Jesus Maria Arruti continues to lead the Madeira Island Open after the conclusion of the first round with England’s Van Phillips one of the few players to make a move on the leaderboard as strong winds swept over the mountainous Santo da Serra course.
Arruti completed a first round 66, six under par, in the calmer conditions on Thursday to lie one shot ahead of Dubai Desert Classic champion Robert-Jan Derksen. Phillips joined Julien Clement, Julien Van Hauwe and Andrew Sherborne on four under par.
Phillips, the 1999 Algarve Open de Portugal Champion, has struggled to find form over the past couple of seasons. The former Walker Cup player, playing his first event of the year after receiving a sponsor’s invitation, made six birdies with two dropped shots to lie two shots off the pace in his bid to regain his Tour card.
Pre-tournament favourite Bradley Dredge, the highest ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking in the field, shot a three under par 69 as he chases his first European Tour title. He was joined by Italian Marcello Santi in a share of seventh place.