VILAMOURA, Portugal – Alvaro Quiros' knowledge of his home course was of little advantage as six others tied the 2008 champion for the lead after the first round of the Portugal Masters on Thursday.
All seven shot 6-under 65s, four of them finishing their rounds with birdies on their last holes at Oceanico Victoria Golf Course.
Nine other players shot 66. In all, 68 players, more than half of the field, went under par in ideal conditions.
Jamie Donaldson of Wales had the lead at 7 under until he bogeyed the eighth, his 17th hole.
Quiros won every year on the European Tour from 2006-2011, including this event in 2008, before being plagued by wrist problems that resulted in him undergoing surgery a year ago and missing five months of golf. Top-10 finishes in Ireland and Italy have hinted him returning to his former heights, and he fought back from two early bogeys to storm home in 29 and lead with Donaldson, Felipe Aguilar, David Lynn, Max Kieffer, Graeme Storm and Simon Thornton.
“It was a good fight after being two over after five holes,” said Quiros, 30, who now lives in Portugal. “I was putting beautifully and that was the key.”
Seve Trophy teammates Donaldson and Lynn swiftly banished any disappointment from Britain & Ireland’s 15-13 loss to Continental Europe last Sunday, although the Welshman insists he came out full of confidence having taken two and half points.
“It was good playing under tough competitive conditions so it’s nice to play well and just bring it on to this week,” said Donaldson. “Those team events were fantastic; we had great fun all week.”
Lynn had been laid low by flu last week, although the Englishman believes he might have uncovered an unusual remedy.
“I keep taking medication but a 65 cures any ailments,” he said. “If I don’t pull my finger out this week I’m not going to make The Race to Dubai.”
Two more of Lynn's Seve Trophy teammates, England's Chris Wood and Scotland's Scott Jamieson, were among a nine-strong group one off the lead, along with former Ryder Cup star Soren Hansen – one of a number of players battling to climb into The Race to Dubai’s top 110 that retain their cards for 2014 after next week’s ISPS Handa Perth International.