Garcia Rodriguez sets pace at Hero Open as Sharvin leads Irish

Spain dominates on opening day of tournament, taking the top three places

Spain dominated the leaderboard on the opening day of the Hero Open at the Forest of Arden championship course in Warwickshire, commandeering the top three places with Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez setting the pace with a stunning, course record, 62.

The 26- year-old amassed two eagles and eight birdies in his round, offset by a couple of bogeys, to enjoy a two short advantage over compatriots, Pablo Larrazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. The 56-year-old Jimenez celebrated making European Tour history – he was playing for a record 707th time eclipsing the mark he had previously shared with Sam Torrance – with a flawless 64, that included eight birdies.

Jimenez already has several other landmark achievements on tour including the most holes-in-one as well as being the oldest winner during a career in which he has won 21 tournaments. Larrazabal managed nine birdies on the card with just a single dropped shot at the 14th.

Sedate day

It was a more sedate day for the Irish contingent with Co Down's Cormac Sharvin leading the way with a two under par, 70. It looked less promising at the turn when he was a couple over but an eagle and two birdies made the inward nine more palatable. Having missed the cut by a shot last week he'll be determined to be around for the weekend.


Jonathan Caldwell, who finished in a tie for eighth place at the British Masters, opened with a 71 but it was a frustrating day for both Gavin Moynihan and Paul Dunne, who signed for 73 and 74 respectively. Moynihan was two under for his round after 12 holes but three bogeys on 13, 16 and 18 proved a rather expensive finish.

Dunne, playing in his second tournament following a nine-month absence with a wrist injury, failed to muster a single birdie; 16 pars and bogeys on 10 and 18 leaves him with plenty to do to make the weekend.

Collated first round scores in the European Tour Hero Open, Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham (British unless stated, par 72):

62 Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez (Spa)

64 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), Pablo Larrazabal (Spa)

65 Oliver Farr

66 Justin Walters (Rsa), Ashley Chesters, Rasmus Hojgaard (Den)

67 Sihwan Kim (Kor), Joel Stalter (Fra), Mikko Korhonen (Fin), Matthew Southgate, Wil Besseling (Ned), Robin Roussel (Fra), Laurie Canter, Connor Syme, Sean Crocker (USA), Thomas Detry (Bel), Alexander Levy (Fra)

68 Kalle Samooja (Fin), Alexander Bjork (Swe), Callum Shinkwin, Rhys Enoch, Julien Guerrier (Fra), Rikard Karlberg (Swe), Joachim B. Hansen (Den), Sam Horsfield, Antoine Rozner (Fra), Dave Coupland, Ewan Ferguson

69 Richie Ramsay, Clement Sordet (Fra), Matthieu Pavon (Fra), Richard McEvoy, Grant Forrest, Marco Penge, Romain Langasque (Fra), Carlos Pigem (Spa), Jason Scrivener (Aus), Dale Whitnell, Darius Van Driel (Ned), Benjamin Hebert (Fra)

70 Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Justin Harding (Rsa), Ross Fisher, Garrick Porteous, Renato Paratore (Ita), Joel Sjoholm (Swe), Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin), Adrian Otaegui (Spa), Paul Hendriksen, Richard Bland, Cormac Sharvin (NIrl), Lorenzo Scalise (Ita), Niklas Lemke (Swe), Ryan Fox (Nzl), Chris Paisley, Lee Slattery, Andy Sullivan, Ben Stow, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Ricardo Santos (Por), Jordan Smith

71 Steven Brown, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger), Joost Luiten (Ned), Oliver Wilson, Aaron Rai, Scott Jamieson, Lars Van Meijel (Ned), Robert Rock, Thomas Bjorn (Den), Jack Senior, John Catlin (USA), Jonathan Caldwell (NIrl), Michael Campbell (Nzl), David Horsey, Ross McGowan, Scott Vincent (Zim)

72 Marcus Armitage, Ben Evans, Benjamin Poke (Den), Steven Tiley, Oliver Fisher, Maverick Antcliff (Aus), Max Schmitt (Ger), Julian Suri (USA), Jamie Donaldson, Calum Hill

73 Brandon Stone (Rsa), Daan Huizing (Ned), Emilio Cuartero Blanco (Spa), Scott Hend (Aus), Haydn Porteous (Rsa), David Howell, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), Zander Lombard (Rsa), Matthew Baldwin, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa), Shubhankar Sharma (Ind), Gavin Moynihan (Irl), David Drysdale, Pedro Figueiredo (Por), Min Woo Lee (Aus), Marcel Schneider (Ger)

74 Matthew Jordan, Toby Tree, Guido Migliozzi (Ita), Alvaro Quiros (Spa), Adrien Saddier (Fra), Marc Warren, Jake McLeod (Aus), Paul Dunne (Irl), Aaron Cockerill (Can), Louis De Jager (Rsa)

75 Liam Johnston, Dean Burmester (Rsa), Adrian Meronk (Pol), Alejandro Canizares (Spa), Bryce Easton (Rsa), Johannes Veerman (USA), Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn)

76 David Law, Jeff Winther (Den), Andrea Pavan (Ita), Eddie Pepperell, Robin Sciot-Siegrist (Fra)

77 Joakim Lagergren (Swe), Nacho Elvira (Spa), James Morrison

79 Graeme Storm, Edoardo Molinari (Ita)

80 Nicolai Hojgaard (Den)

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer