Garcia on top as Cabrera misses out

Sergio Garcia has taken the lead on the 1st day of the Castello Masters – but the first round isn’t over yet.

Sergio Garcia has taken the lead on the 1st day of the Castello Masters – but the first round isn’t over yet.

Robert Allenby was only a shot back with seven holes to play in this wind -delayed event when play was halted for the second time by the onset of darkness.

Martin Kaymer, playing for the first time in months following a go-kart accident, and Justin Rose, seeking to brighten up what has generally been a disappointing season, are also still in the hunt.

Both are at 4-under, Rose after 11 holes and Kaymer after 12

One threat Garcia won’t have to face as he seeks a first successful defence of the title is Angel Cabrera, this year’s Masters Champion.

Because of flight problems, luckless Cabrera failed to make it back from the mid-week Grand Slam championship in Bermuda in time – but he would have been okay if only play had been suspended for the first time some 15 minutes earlier.
Garcia was on the 17th hole of his home course, Campo del Medeterraneo, on eight under par 63 when 40mph gusts stopped the action for three hours at lunchtime.
Cabrera’s playing partners Martin Kaymer and Gonzalo Fernando-Castano had just teed off, however, and that meant the Argentine star had to be disqualified.
Cabrera finished second in the 36-hole Grand Slam in Bermuda – the tournament for the season’s four major winners – on Tuesday, but then hit problems en route across the Atlantic to Spain.
That makes Garcia an even stronger favourite for what would be the first successful defence of his professional career.
Without a top three finish this year and down from second to 10th in the world, the 29-year-old covered the back nine first in a sizzling six under 29.
He then holed a seven-footer on the first, chipped to within three feet of the flag at the long fourth and on the resumption birdied the 553-yard eighth.
Garcia’s only bogey came at the ninth – his last – and he said: “You never like to finish like that, but other than that it was pretty solid and I made some nice putts.
“We get a wind like that only three or four days a year – and usually on those days we chill at home!”
Like Cabrera, but for a very different reason, Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie was left wishing the hold-up had come sooner.
Montgomerie reached four under, but then had three bogeys in four holes.
When told by an official after the third of them that conditions were too bad to continue he said: “That’s great. The later starters can walk off and we’ve just played in it. That’s okay, is it?”
On his return the Scot parred in for a one under 70.
The second-half of the field had no hope of completing their rounds before the light went, leaving Garcia with a one-stroke lead over Swede Michael Jonzon.
Jose Maria Olazabal, partnering Garcia, finished strongly for a 65, the same score as Emanuele Canonica, the Italian who caddied for him at The Masters in April.
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 71):

Note: The first round has been suspended due to darkness. Play will resume on Friday morning)
63 Sergio Garcia (Spa)
64 Michael Jonzon (Swe)
65 Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spa), Emanuele Canonica (Ita)
67 David Horsey, Rafael Echenique (Arg), Pablo Martin (Spa), Miles Tunnicliff
68 David Drysdale, Santiago Luna (Spa), Darren Clarke
69 Mikael Lundberg (Swe), Jesus Maria Arruti (Spa), David Dixon, Manuel Quiros (Spa)
70 Chris Wood, Colin Montgomerie, Soren Hansen (Den), Jarmo Sandelin (Swe), Klas Eriksson (Swe), Jose Manuel Lara (Spa), Johan Edfors (Swe), Simon Wakefield, Andrew McLardy (Rsa), Daniel Vancsik (Arg), Stephen Dodd, Paul Lawrie, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par)
71 Robert Jan Derksen (Ned), Richie Ramsay, Anton Haig (Rsa), Maarten Lafeber (Ned), Marc Cayeux (Zim), Lee Slattery, Eduardo De La Riva (Spa), Jamie Donaldson, Tano Goya (Arg), Pedro Oriol (Spa), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut)
72 Robert Karlsson (Swe), Wil Besseling (Ned), Magnus A Carlsson (Swe), Ake Nilsson (Rsa), Francois Delamontagne (Fra), Steven O’Hara
73 Alfredo Garcia-heredia (Spa), Mark Foster
74 Gary Orr, David Howell, Sam Little
75 Roope Kakko (Fin), Jordi Garcia Del Moral (Spa), Christopher Doak
76 Michael Lorenzo-Vera (Fra)
DQ: Angel Cabrera (Arg)