England’s Matt Wallace cards 63 to set pace in Portugal

First-round play suspended due to bad weather

 England’s Matt Wallace plays a shot during the the first round of the  Open de Portugal at Morgado Golf Resort in Portimao. Photograph: Luis Forra/EPA

England’s Matt Wallace plays a shot during the the first round of the Open de Portugal at Morgado Golf Resort in Portimao. Photograph: Luis Forra/EPA

 

England’s Matt Wallace fired a stunning 10-under-par 63 to set a daunting clubhouse target before bad weather brought play to an early end on day one of the Open de Portugal.

Wallace carded 10 birdies and no bogeys at Morgado Golf Resort to finish a shot ahead of Germany’s Sebastian Heisele, who produced an eagle, nine birdies and two bogeys in his 64.

American Julian Suri and Englishmen Paul Maddy and Jamie Rutherford were two shots further back on six under par.

Gary Hurley was the best of the three Irish golfers to complete their first rounds after carding a two-under 71, one shot ahead of Chris Selfridge, with Michael Hoey back on level. Ruaidhrí McGee was one under after three holes when play was abandoned, while Kevin Phelan was three over after three holes.

Wallace, who won six Alps Tour events last season to earn his Challenge Tour card, carded four birdies on the front nine and followed another on the 10th with five in a row from the 12th.

“It was a fantastic round really,” the 27-year-old Londoner said. “It wasn’t looking great at the start when the rain came in 10 minutes before my tee time. Then it stopped just as we got on to the tee, so that was kind of a good omen.

“It was the old cliche. I just took one shot at a time and we had a really good day out there. Everything was working well to be honest. Everything clicked.

“I made two good par saves on the front nine to keep the momentum going. After that every hole was at least a birdie chance, so it was a really good day.

“It’s been a continuation of a good start to the season. I’ve enjoyed it, I love coming out here and playing and hopefully we can keep this going for the next three days.”

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