Doherty claims clubhouse lead

Jack Doherty carded a three-under par 69 to claim a one-stroke lead at the NH Collection Open when darkness halted Thursday’s first round.

The opening round of the tournament in Cadiz was delayed by two hours and 40 minutes due to heavy rain, and when play was eventually called off, several players were still on the course.

The leaders of those yet to finish are Rhys Davies (through 11), Tjaart Van Der Walt (through eight) and Joakim Lagergren (through seven), one stroke behind Doherty on two-under.

Also on two-under after his round of 70 is Bradley Dredge.

The only other players to have completed their rounds under par on the first day of the inaugural event are Dave Horsey, Adrian Otaegui, David Howell, Lorenzo Gagli and Mikko Korhonen, who all carded one-under-par 71s.

“It was a tough day,” Doherty told the European Tour’s official website from the clubhouse.

“We had a 20 yard wind on the front nine and almost 30 yards on the back nine, which is a lot.

“The ball is going a long way downwind and it’s hardly going anywhere into the wind, but I practice on the West Coast of Scotland which is normally quite windy, so I know how to play it and I just stuck to my game plan.

“The course is lovely, it’s my first time here and I enjoyed it. I like the way it sets up and it’s in good condition. Considering we had lots of rain yesterday and last night, the course has held up nicely and the greens are fast, especially downwind.

“This is my first year on the main Tour and my main target is to keep my card for next year; that would be the main goal, as I am limited in my starts. Every week is big, but a big week here would be huge.”