Reuters - Swede Peter Hanson mastered a tough Adare Manor course to hold an early one-shot lead in the Irish Open first round, defying tight fairways and clinging rough to produce a flawless 68.
Hanson defied tight fairways and clinging rough to produce a faultless four under 68. South African James Kingston held second place after collecting seven birdies. He dropped a shot on the last for his 69.
"This is almost like a Major Championship set-up, like a US Open course, and that's the sort of mental approach you have to take," Hanson said. "But it fits my game really, really well. My strength is my long game.
"It was all about staying away from the rough and avoiding double-bogeys."
While Hanson avoided dropping a shot, Kingston, following in the vein of Open de Espana winner Charl Schwartzel, Telecom Italia Open long-time front-runner Andrew McLardy and last week's leader in Andalucia, Louis Oosthuizen in putting South Africa to the fore, made four bogeys.
An outstanding birdie-count, though, helped him track Hanson.
One of Kingston's birdies came at the short 11th, where the tee was brought forward 54 yards to reduce its difficulty.
England's Lee Westwood, last week's Valle Romano Open de Andalucia, shared third place, three strokes off the lead.