Former PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel took advantage of calmer afternoon conditions to shoot a 5-under 67 and grab a one-shot lead after the first round of the Open de Espana.
The 43 year old American carded eight birdies and three bogeys in calm afternoon conditions at Reale Club de Golf de Sevilla to earn his lead.
“I didn’t expect this,” said Micheel. “Yesterday in the the pro-am I didn't make any birdies, and it wasn't for lack of effort, I can assure you.
“I had a terrific start with four birdies on my first six holes. I think the key was I kept the ball in play, made a couple of nice putts, and I made all my short putts.
“My iron play was good and I just managed myself well and gave myself a lot of opportunities.
“Outside my bogey in the last, I’m extremely pleased. I made 8 birdies, it felt great, it really did. I’m ready to play tomorrow in the same conditions, I do enjoy playing in difficult conditions.”
Spanish golfer and home-favourite Jorge Campillo and the English pair of Robert Rock and Danny Willett are all a shot behind, with another Englishman Matthew Baldwin alone in fifth on three under.
“I feel great playing this good,” Campillo said. “The course is playing tough and I managed to make no bogeys, so I’m very happy with the way I played today.”
The guys who played in the morning had a much tougher time of things as they had to contend with strong winds and heavy rain. Italian Francesco Molinari was the best of the earlier starters with a 2-under 70.
Molinari was pleased with his efforts in the worst of the weather.
“I’m very happy, it was as tough as it can get,” said the 29 year old. “The rough is just brutal, and the wind and rain make it hard to keep the ball on the fairway, but I played very well.
“This course should favour straight players like me, but when you show up on the first tee you never know what’s going to happen.