Joost Luiten and George Coetzee take a share of the lead into the second round of the Portugal Masters after recording rounds of 64 on day one at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.
Dutchman Luiten set the target in the morning, with South Africa’s Coetzee later joining him on seven under par. Nino Bertasio of Italy, Frenchman Grégory Havret, Australia’s Jason Scrivener, Englishman Callum Shinkwin and China’s Ashun Wu are at six under, while eight players are one shot further back at five under par.
Luiten has a new driver in the bag and looks to have found form after missing the cut in three of his last four events, including on home soil at the KLM Open last week. Meanwhile Coetzee seems to be feeling the benefits of a few weeks re charging his batteries back home in South Africa after missing four cuts in a row, and is looking to build on his tied third place finish in The Netherlands last week.
Starting on the back nine, Luiten made birdies on the 11th and 15th, and then added three in a row from the 17th to join the early leaders. An excellent chip on the par five fifth set up another gain to hand him top spot on his own.
Coetzee got off to a fast start when the afternoon action got under way, birdieing six of his first eight holes to turn in 30 after also starting from the tenth. Scott Jamieson and Nicolas Colsaerts have both had putts for a 59 in Vilamoura in recent seasons, and Coetzee admits the number crept into is mind, but the momentum was lost when he bogeyed the second.
Three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland got his Portugal Masters title defence off to a solid start with a 67, which puts him amongst a group of eleven players at four under par.