Well-rested Gonzalez makes perfect start

4/29/2010 6:26:55 PM
Ricardo Gonzalez  (Getty Images)
Ricardo Gonzalez (Getty Images)
Refreshed by a five week break with his family in Argentina, big-hitting Ricardo Gonzalez made a superb return to The European Tour in sun-drenched Seville.

Back at the Real Club de Golf where he won the 2004 Open de Sevilla, the 40 year old fired a seven under par 65 to lead former English amateur champion Paul Waring by one after the first round of the Open de EspaƱa.

"In Spain I feel like home. I like the people, the food, the golf courses," said Gonzalez, who also captured the Open de Madrid seven years ago.

"I've come with all the batteries charged and I think I have chances to do a good tournament."

The best of his eight birdies came at the 226 yard 17th, his eighth, where he struck "the best three iron I have hit in a long time" to within ten feet of the flag.

Waring has yet to record a top five finish since coming through the 2007 Qualifying School, but a month ago in Malaga he knocked four strokes off his best round on The European Tour with a 62.

Something similar was a possibility when the 25 year old from Birkenhead followed three opening birdies with an eight foot eagle putt on the long fifth.

But the former disc jockey - house music was his speciality in the clubs and bar of Liverpool - missed out on top spot by driving into sand and bogeying the 432 yard last.

Waring is happy just to be in Spain this week. The air chaos caused by the volcanic ash cloud left him stuck in the Middle East and he was originally told the first flight out was May 1.

"We managed to get out on Sunday, though, and then flew here yesterday," he said.

The group in third place on four under includes England's Simon Dyson and Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, both back in action three weeks after missing the cut at The Masters Tournament.

On the same mark are Dyson's fellow Yorkshireman Danny Willett, who as an amateur two years ago shot a 64 on the course, and Ireland's Damien McGrane, plus Gonzalez's compatriot Rafa Echenique, Spain's Sebi Garcia and Carlos Del Moral and Swedes Martin Erlandsson and Mikael Lundberg.

Garcia, from Majorca and with a British mother, earned fame at the end of last year with a 13 under par round of 58 in an event on the Spanish circuit, although placing of the ball was allowed.

Ranked 1,272nd in the world, he is one of eight home players given sponsor's invitations this week.