Domingo Hospital was in perfect health after his first round at the Casa Serena Open thanks to his superb putting as he took the early clubhouse lead in the Czech Republic.
The Spaniard made six birdies on his way to a five under par 66 at the sun-kissed Casa Serena Golf in Kutná Hora thanks to some spectacular work on the greens, where he sank a number of putts from over 15 feet.
Despite his numerous birdies, though, Hospital surprisingly earmarked a long-distance bogey putt as the most crucial.
“I had some good rounds this year but today was very good,” said Hospital. “I had a very good day on the greens. I holed seven really good putts and that made the difference.
“I held about four from about 10 foot and then about three more from over 15 feet but the most important came on the sixth for a six.
“I was two under and had some trouble in the bunker and I was on the green on five with a big putt for bogey but I managed to get it so it was a really good bogey because going back to level par at that stage would have been very bad for me so I'm very pleased.”
The 52 year old came into the Casa Serena Open on the back of some good form after a tied tenth finish at the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters at Woburn but is still searching for a first win this year.
He is confident, however, of continuing his purple patch this week on a course where has twice finished in the top 10, earning a tied fifth finish in 2008 before following that up with a ninth place in 2009.
“This is my fourth year and I've played really well in the first two years so it suits me, or at least it appears that way!” he continued.
“I haven’t played bad this year but I just haven’t been great on the greens but I've been practicing a lot recently so it’s been a bit of work and a bit of luck that has made the difference. I used to practice only with my long game but now I dedicate a lot more time to my putting and it’s paying off.”
Sam Torrance is another man high on confidence after a four under par back nine and a bogey-free round helped him to a four under par 67.
The Scotsman, who finished tied fifth at the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters two weeks ago, believes it could have been even better opening round score had he not missed some big birdie chances.
“I played as good as I could play today but I missed 10 putts from inside 15 feet,” said the 2002 Ryder Cup Captain. “I holed an eight footer but that was about it. It’s very pleasing, how I’m playing so hopefully I can soon get the putts in.
“At Woburn I had two three putts on the back nine but I played well there and I think I’m better this week.”