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Jordan Smith the man to catch after flawless 62 in Portugal

Jordan Smith the man to catch after flawless 62 in Portugal

Jordan Smith produced a putting masterclass on the first day of the 2022 Portugal Masters as he carded an opening 62 to lead by one shot.


The highlight of Smith's bogey-free round came at the par-five fifth, where the Englishman holed his eagle putt from 30 feet.

He also made seven birdies in an impressive opening round on Thursday afternoon to finish the day on nine under par.

Smith has enjoyed a stellar 2022 campaign so far, recording two runner-up finishes, but has yet to win a title this year.

He will be hoping to change that this week as he bids to move into the top ten on the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex from his current position of 14th.

Joost Luiten and Jeff Winther were Smith's nearest challengers on eight under after they both made eight birdies in their flawless 63s on a low-scoring day at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.

Robin Roussel, Gavin Green and Joakim Lagergren were a shot further back in a tie for fourth.

With this week's event providing the last chance for players to earn points to keep their cards for 2023, home favourite Ricardo Gouveia was among those who gave themselves a platform for a much-needed good result.

He began the week 119th in the standings - two places shy of the magic mark of 117th - and opened with a 66.

Smith started from the tenth tee and picked up back-to-back birdies at the 12th and 13th before further gains on the 15th and 17th took him to the turn in 32.

He made another birdie at the fourth before rolling in his monster eagle putt on the fifth to jump to seven under.

His impressive work on the greens continued at the sixth as he holed from ten feet.

And after sending his tee-shot to 26 feet on the short eighth, he knocked in the birdie putt to take the outright lead.

Smith gave himself yet another chance on the ninth but had to settle for a closing par.

He said: "Anything like that you’re over the moon with. I’m really happy with the way I played. I’ve been under the weather all week.

"Not been feeling my best, they say beware the injured golfer. Considering my prep hasn’t been the best, I’m over the moon with it.

"The three wood into the par five that set up the eagle or the seven iron on 13 that I hit to two feet, those were probably my highlights. I holed a lot of putts and did everything right.

"I really found out the greens today. They’ve been a lot softer and slower than in previous years, managed to find a couple of 30 and 40 footers out there, which helps. That’s the difference compared to previous years.

"(A win) is the only thing missing this year. I’ve been close a couple of times. Overall, it’s been a great year and I’m over the moon with it already. Just to top it off with a win would be amazing."

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