Friday, 19 March 2010
SAS Masters - Round One  (Getty Images)
SAS Masters - Round One (Getty Images)

The longest course in European Tour history did not stop England's Lee Slattery from starting the SAS Masters in Sweden with a six under par 67.

At 7,665 yards Bärseback near Malmo is 22 yards longer than last year's US Open Championship venue Torrey Pines, but first man out Slattery birdied the first four holes and had two chip-ins.

Australian Brett Rumford then moved alongside him with an eagle at the long 16th, while Spanish duo Pablo Larrazabal and Pablo Martin and Sweden's Klas Eriksson were only two behind.

Slattery is only 136th on The Race to Dubai and 504th in the World Rankings and after a disappointing run left his clubs at home last week and went to the Lake District with his girlfriend.

"I woke up this morning and just thought 'enjoy it and trust your swing'. After the start I made it felt like the pressure was off,” he said.

Slattery turned in a six under 30, but then had to stop for an hour because of the threat of a thunderstorm.

He explained: "I wanted to carry on, but I had no choice."

On the resumption he hit a tree at the 12th and ran up a bogey six, but then got up and down from a bunker at the long 16th to return to six under on the par 73 lay-out.

Former Ryder Cup star Jesper Parnevik, back in Europe for one week after making only five cuts in 15 starts on the US PGA Tour while battling back trouble, managed only a one over 74.

Favourite Henrik Stenson, World Number Seven and winner of the Players Championship in Florida in May, was among the later starters whose tee-off times had to be pushed back because of the hold-up.

Rumford would have overtaken Slattery with a closing birdie, but instead he took a triple bogey seven after losing his first drive and then having to chop out of the trees with his second.

As he dropped back to three under Slattery was left with a one stroke lead over Martin, who still had three to play.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1GONZALEZ, RicardoARG18-10
3HULDAHL, JeppeDEN18-6
T4HIGLEY, MarcusENG18-4
T4SMITH (AM), NathanUSA18-4
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