2 tied for lead at 64 after 1st round of Portugal Masters

Portugal Masters 2017 - Day One Andrew Redington/Getty Images

2 tied for lead at 64 after 1st round of Portugal Masters

Euro Tour

2 tied for lead at 64 after 1st round of Portugal Masters

 

The Walker Cup class of 2017 is fighting back.

It didn’t take long for some of Great Britain & Ireland’s Walker Cup players to bounce back from losing at Los Angeles Country Club. They may have lost heavily to the United States, but four of the 10 have begun their European Tour careers in fine style.

Joost Luiten of The Netherlands and South Africa’s George Coetzee lead the Portugal Masters on seven under par after matching 64s, but Walker Cuppers Jack Singh Brar, David Boote, Connor Syme and Scott Gregory proved there are no hangovers from a 19-7 dusting in the biennial match.

Singh Brar and Boote are just three shots off the pace after returning four-under-par 67s. Syme and Gregory are one shot further back on three under after 68s.

The opening round didn’t go as well for Jack Davidson and Alfie Plant. Davidson, making his second European Tour start after missing the cut in last week’s KLM Open, returned a one-over-par 72, while Plant was two shots worse after a 74.

Luiten is looking for his sixth European Tour win. However, the Dutchman is coming off a torrid time in recent weeks. Despite missing only one cut through the Open Championship, the 31-year-old has missed two of his last four events, including last week’s KLM Open in his homeland.

“I’m very happy, seven under – no bogeys, seven birdies – that’s what you want every day,” Luiten said.

“I knew my game wasn’t far off and the good thing about golf is there’s always next week and this week it feels nice and hopefully we can keep it going.”

Coetzee finished third in last week’s KLM Open following four missed cuts. He began his round on the 10th hole and birdied six of his first eight hole. No wonder he had a certain number on his mind.

“I read an article yesterday about 59-watch and after eight holes I was thinking, ‘OK, if I birdie the next one and the next one and the next one….’,” Coetzee said. “I guess I shot myself in the foot a little bit today but I was quite happy with the way things went.”

Unfortunately, the strong South African bogeyed the second and that put paid to any ideas of breaking 60. Still, 64 wasn’t surprising considering how much he loves the course.

“I’ve always played well around this track, posted some good finishes and I really enjoy the golf course, it suits my eye pretty well and luckily today it did that again.”

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