Stenson starts well in Portugal

10/11/2012 10:42:26 AM
Henrik Stenson   (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson’s search for a first European Tour title in five years got off to a good start when the Portugal Masters began at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course.

The Swede turned in a three under par 33 to be part of a seven-way leading group in Vilamoura.

Starting on the back nine, Stenson had four birdies in his first seven holes only to bogey the 18th to fall back alongside compatriots Fredrik Andersson Hed and Alex Noren, Scots George Murray and Stephen Gallacher, Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello and South Africans Thomas Aiken.

Defending champion Tom Lewis was also off to a good start as the Englishman made two birdies in his first three holes, while former Open Champion Darren Clarke was one under through eight holes. 

Murray bounced back from eight successive missed cuts to lead as the morning session progressed.

Down at 163rd on The Race to Dubai he reached four under par after 11 holes with birdies at the first, fifth, tenth and 11th.

Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal was paired with two of his Medinah heroes, Martin Kaymer and Francesco Molinari, but none of them was off to a flying start.

After eight holes Kaymer was one under, Olazábal level par and the Italian one over.

Murray started the back nine with four successive birdies, but three-putted the short 16th and finished with a five under 66.

That allowed both Fisher and Gallacher to overtake him, Fisher after four birdies in five holes on the outward half and Gallacher after he picked up further shots on the second, fifth and short eighth.

As the wind really picked up Lewis eagled the 579 yard fifth from only six feet, but bogeyed two holes later and so at three under was three behind.

Olazábal, meanwhile, hooked into the lake on the 18th - his ninth - and ran up a triple bogey seven.

With three to play he was three over, Kaymer three under and Molinari level par.