Notah Begay III weathered the storm to post the clubhouse lead of four under par 68 at the Open de España after an opening day blighted by torrential rain at the Centro Nacional de Golf in Madrid.
Only five hours of play was possible on the opening day, but Begay III just beat the fading light to set the clubhouse target for the rest of the field, half of whom did not even hit a shot.
Frenchman Gregory Bourdy and Sweden’s Steven Jeppesen are also four under for their opening rounds, but still have five holes to play when the first round resumes at 08:30 on Friday morning.
After morning and afternoon deluges had wreaked havoc upon the Centro Nacional de Golf, Begay III, who won his place on The European Tour at the 2006 Qualifying School – Final Stage in Spain, played the back nine in level par 36 before making four birdies on the front side to move into the clubhouse lead.
"When I played the US Tour it was rumoured the weather was bad in Europe and I can testify they were not exaggerating," said Begay III.
"Thankfully the food and the service was great because we did a lot of sitting around.
"I also had to play the course blind because my clubs did not arrive until Tuesday night and I was not in the pro-am.
"My sciatic nerve was really bothering me too, but I've just dealt with it the last couple of years and my wife and I are thoroughly enjoying our time over here."
Begay III is one stroke ahead of Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and Australian Terry Pilkadaris – both of whom have yet to complete their opening rounds, while Ryder Cup players Miguel Angel Jiménez of Spain and Ireland’s Paul McGinley are in the clubhouse alongside Spain’s Carlos Rodiles on two under par.
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