Lowry loiters with intent after opening 67
PORTUGAL MASTERS:FORMER RYDER Cup player Ross Fisher and Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher both matched their lowest rounds of the year to share the lead when the Portugal Masters began yesterday.
While Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal managed only a 75 on his return to action, the pair shot six-under-par 65s at Oceanico Victoria.
Fisher was part of Colin Montgomerie’s victorious side in Wales two years ago, but has managed only one top-five finish since that memorable week and finds himself down at 140th in the world.
“It’s been a tough season,” the 31-year-old Englishman said, “but it’s nice to see my hard work pay off, and if that Ryder Cup win doesn’t inspire you then nothing will.
“It was weird – I was more nervous watching on the sofa than I was playing at Celtic Manor.”
The closest he came to winning this year was the Wales Open in June. He was one behind with four to play, but was then given a one-stroke penalty for slow play and dropped to sixth.
Gallacher, meanwhile, was still in contention for the Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews on Sunday when he played the wrong ball on the 16th and ran up a quadruple-bogey eight.
Keeping a bogey off his card next time out was a fine effort by the 37-year-old, nephew of ex-Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher.
“There’s not much rough and the greens are unbelievably good, but when the wind got up it was pretty tough,” he said.
Shane Lowry was only two off the lead overnight after shooting six birdies in a four-under par round of 67. He is tied fourth with four other players, Swedes Fredrik Andersson Hed and Christian Nilsson, South African Jbe Kruger and Welshman Jamie Donaldson
He was two shots better than Pádraig Harrington and Gareth Maybin, while Darren Clarke, Damien McGrane and Michael were a further shot back.
Peter Lawrie’s 73 left him on two over, three shots ahead of Simon Thornton, who dropped seven shots on the first 11 holes, but showed enviable resolve thereafter to run in four birdies to finish the day on five over par.
Paul McGinley withdrew before the start with a bad back.
Ryder Cup star Martin Kaymer scored 69, the same as defending champion Tom Lewis.
FIRST ROUND SCORES
Oceanico Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura,
(British unless stated, Irish in bold, par 72):
65 Stephen Gallacher, Ross Fisher.
66 George Murray.
67 Christian Nilsson (Swe), Jbe Kruger (Rsa), Shane Lowry(Ire), Jamie Donaldson, Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe).
68 Anthony Wall, Thomas Aiken (Rsa), Daniel Denison, Michael Campbell (Nzl), Joakim Lagergren (Swe), Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spa), Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (Spa)
69 Carlos Del Moral (Spa), Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Martin Kaymer (Ger), Marc Warren, Markus Brier (Aut), Gareth Maybin(NIre), George Coetzee (Rsa), Lee Slattery, Ricardo Gonzalez (Arg), Tom Lewis, Andrea Pavan (Ita), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Keith Horne (Rsa), Gregory Bourdy (Fra), Thomas Levet (Fra), Padraig Harrington(Ire).
70 Robert Jan Derksen (Ned), Damien McGrane(Ire), James Kingston (Rsa), Danny Willett, Jose-Filipe Lima (Por), Alexander Noren (Swe), Federico Colombo (Ita), Thomas Bjorn (Den), Alejandro Canizares (Spa), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Michael Hoey(NIre), Henrik Stenson (Swe), Richard Bland, Martin Wiegele (Aut), Hennie Otto (Rsa), Peter Whiteford, Kristoffer Broberg (Swe), Matthew Zions (Aus), Darren Clarke(NIre), Richard Finch, Rich Beem (USA), Richard Green (Aus), Ricardo Melo Gouveia (Por), Pedro Figueiredo (Por).
71 Francesco Molinari (Ita), Steve Webster, Anders Hansen (Den), Matteo Manassero (Ita), Jaco Van Zyl (Rsa), Kenneth Ferrie, Scott Jamieson, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa), Jamie Elson, Mark Foster, Edoardo Molinari (Ita).
72 Mikael Lundberg (Swe), Gary Orr, Robert Coles, Joost Luiten (Ned), Ricardo Santos (Por), Peter Hedblom (Swe), Simon Dyson, Felipe Aguilar (Chi), Sam Little, Bradley Dredge, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra), Jamie Moul, David Howell, Marcel Siem (Ger), Rhys Davies, Andrew Dodt (Aus), Hugo Santos (Por), David Lynn, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Simon Khan, Andy Sullivan, David Drysdale, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita).
73 Mikko Ilonen (Fin), Peter Lawrie(Ire), Graeme Storm, Johan Edfors (Swe), Jose Manuel Lara (Spa), Gary Boyd, Nuno Henriques (Por), Robert Rock, Tommy Fleetwood, Craig Lee, Estanislao Goya (Arg), Matthew Baldwin, James Morrison, Oscar Floren (Swe), Fabrizio Zanotti (Par), Richard Sterne (Rsa).
74 Richard McEvoy, Jorge Campillo (Spa), Darren Fichardt (Rsa), Antonio Rosado (Por), Shaun Micheel (USA), Michael Jonzon (Swe), Pablo Martin (Spa).
75 Paul Waring, David Horsey, Maarten Lafeber (Ned), Alvaro Quiros (Spa), Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spa), Niclas Fasth (Swe), Ignacio Garrido (Spa), Benjamin Hebert (Fra).
76 Tjaart Van Der Walt (Rsa), Julien Quesne (Fra), Simon Thornton(Ire), Gregory Havret (Fra).
77 Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Phillip Price.
78 Tiago Cruz (Por).
79 Richard S Johnson (Swe), Andrew Marshall.
WD: Joel Sjoholm (Swe) 77, Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 74.