Friday, 19 March 2010
Estoril Open de Portugal - Round One  (Getty Images)
Estoril Open de Portugal - Round One (Getty Images)

Ross McGowan fired a seven under par 64 to take the clubhouse lead at the Estoril Open de Portugal at Oitavos Dunes.

The 26 year old has enjoyed success in this part of the world before, having taken the Estoril Challenge de Portugal at Quinta da Marinha in 2007 on The Challenge Tour.

And the Englishman carded eight birdies - including back-to-back at the tenth and 11th - with one bogey on the fifth to set a score one outside the course record, despite the blustery conditions.

That was enough to give him a two shot advantage over Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey.

“I'm very happy with that - I made a few birdies and generally hit the ball well and took my chances when they came,” said McGowan, who is still looking for his maiden win on The European Tour.

“I was hitting it fairly close and knocked it on under regulation on a few holes and had a few birdies and a few other nice shots to within six feet.

“I played steady and my control was good especially into the wind. On another day I might have been struggling but down wind I was knocking it on the green and taking my putts and moving on really.”

Qualifying School graduate Hoey posted a five under 30 for the back nine, with five birdies, an eagle at the 16th and two bogeys from the 11th.

And afterwards the 30 year old admitted some familiar weather conditions had helped his cause.

“The weather was Irish,” joked Hoey, who was sixth at the Madeira Islands Open BPI - Portugal two weeks ago.

“I've been playing well the last few months, I'm just trying to keep a decent tempo to the swing and keep it simple and Madeira was a boost to my confidence.”

McGowan’s compatriot Simon Dyson, Spain’s Carlos Del Moral and Scot Alastair Forsyth are both three shots off the pace after signing for matching 67s.

Former Volvo Masters runner-up Dyson appeared to be in some discomfort with a neck injury towards the end of his round but five birdies and a single bogey enabled him to post a competitive score.

On the course France’s François Delamontagne has made a good start to sit three under after seven holes.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1HOEY, MichaelNIR18-7
3MOLINARI, FrancescoITA18-6
R2D Fantasy

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