Nino Bertasio makes flying start to Portugal Masters with brilliant opening 61
Italy’s Nino Bertasio opened up a four-shot lead following a stunning first round of 61 in the Portugal Masters.
Bertasio covered the front nine of Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura in 31 and then birdied six of his last seven holes to finish 10 under par in pursuit of his first European Tour title.
Spain’s Adri Arnaus is Bertasio’s nearest challenger following a bogey-free 65, with Malaysia’s Gavin Green another stroke back on five under.
“I got off to a good start, birdied the second after hitting it close and I started making some putts,” Bertasio said. “I made a lot of putts on the front nine and played really solid on the back.
“Hit a few close, hit the par fives in two and the birdie on the last was a bonus. Today’s a different wind, we normally play it down off the left and today it was into. The 17th and 18th are tricky holes and very happy to finish birdie-birdie.
“I wasn’t expecting a 61, but I have been playing nicely. I putted really well today and everything clicked.”
Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington was part of a six-strong group on four under par which included Danish twins Rasmus and Nicolai Hojgaard, who won European Tour events in back-to-back weeks earlier this season.
“I played a couple of Champions Tour events in the States, I hit the ball quite well and was lapped by the field,” three-time major winner Harrington, who turned 50 in August, said.
“That gave me a bit of a wake-up call that as much as I’ve strengthened my weaknesses over the last number of years, I’ve definitely weakened my strengths.
“Today was a good day in that sense. I was a lot sharper. I worked a good score out of it, I didn’t hit the ball great but hit my wedges better and gave myself lots of chances.
“It’s an interesting course in that there’s a lot of risk-reward. There’s a lot of intimidating shots, but with the rough being down you’re sometimes better off bailing out a little bit, you can do that here. You need a smart head around this course this week.”
LIVE SCORES: Follow all the latest leaderboards in our golf live scores centre.
Keith Pelley hits back at 16 players threatening DP World Tour with legal action
Pelley says the sanctions against players who competed in the first LIV Golf event are ‘proportionate’ and ‘fair’.
JT Poston takes two-shot lead at John Deere Classic
The 29-year-old also became the first player on record to open consecutive Tour events with 62 or better.
Ryan Fox surprised to be leading after opening round of Horizon Irish Open
The New Zealander carded a flawless 64 to set the pace at Mount Juliet.
Defiant Lee Westwood does not believe playing in LIV should harm Ryder Cup hopes
Westwood doesn’t agree with penalties and sanctions.
Shane Lowry welcomes closer ties between Tours in response to threat from LIV
The PGA Tour and DP World Tour announced the next phase of their strategic alliance.
Padraig Harrington fears LIV series poses threat to future of DP World Tour
The US Senior Open champion thinks there is only room for the PGA and one other tour in the world game.
Steve Stricker makes Padraig Harrington sweat as Irishman wins US Senior Open
The pair were rival captains in last year’s Ryder Cup in Wisconsin.
Golfers warned of further sanctions if they continue to play in LIV breakaway
The DP World Tour has issued fines of £100,000 and tournament bans to its members who played in the inaugural LIV Golf event earlier this month
DP World Tour hits members who played inaugural LIV series with £100,000 fines
They have also been banned from several forthcoming tournaments including the Scottish Open.
Rory McIlroy not impressed as Brooks Koepka becomes latest big name to join LIV
The world number two labelled the players who have joined the new series as “duplicitous” for the way they have handled their breakaway.