Martin Rominger’s superb eight under par opening round of 63 gave the Swiss the outright lead after the first round of the Fred Olsen Challenge de España at Tecina Golf in La Gomera.
The 33 year old was two shots clear of Spain’s Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, Daniel Vancsik of Argentina and Domenico Geminiani, a promising 16 year old Italian.
Rominger made an incredible start as he birdied the first five holes at the Canary Islands venue, before another birdie at the ninth meant he reached the turn in six under par 30. A further two gained shots on the 17th and 18th gave him a bogey-free 63.
"I was always close,” said Rominger, whose best result on the Challenge Tour is tied tenth, at the 2009 Kenya Open. “I had a lot of chances and it is always nice to start with five birdies. I have just been playing really well in the last couple of months.
“I have my family here and my two year old girl and it’s great to be back in Europe with them having played on the Asian Tour this year. That may be one of the reasons why I am playing well here, because I have them here with me this week.
“Mentally I am doing much better now, playing more relaxed and enjoying it a lot. I am confident with my game. It seems to come more easily than it used to, I have worked a lot on all aspects of my game during the winter. I went to South Africa to get ready for the season.
“This golf course is amazing, it is really relaxing to see the ocean from every hole. I am enjoying it a lot.”
Garcia Rodriguez, who is playing his third Challenge Tour event, carded a six under par 65 which included an eagle two at the par four ninth hole. Having bogeyed the first hole, the 22 year old dropped shots at the third, sixth and seventh before his chip-in just before the turn, and further birdies at the tenth and 16th meant he goes into the second day in tied second.
“I had no rhythm from the tee but then I played some holes spectacularly,” said the 23 year old. “I want to thank Carlos Rincon who is caddying for me. I think I needed someone close to me not to give me lessons but to help me put everything together at a tournament and he helped me do that.