Ashley Chesters posted a 5-under par 66 to claim the early lead after a weather-delayed day one at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters.
The 28 year old Englishman finished his first round on Spain with just one bogey offset by six birdies, highlighted by back-to-back birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 to jump into the pole position.
“It’s a shame I can’t keep going because the last few holes were the best I played all day. Considering all the delays and everything I’m very happy with five under, and it was nice to finish like that,” said Chesters.
“This is not a long-hitters course and I’m not one of those, so it does suit my game because you just put it into position off the tee and the greens are tight – the greens are great as well.
“The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good either so I thought ‘I’ll just make as many birdies as I can and get in’.”
Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, who at 197th needs a strong finish this week to break into the top 116 on the Race to Dubai Rankings, was 4-under par after a bogey-free 67.
Defending champion, and tournament host, Sergio Garcia was one further back at 3 under, alongside countrymen Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano – who did not complete their rounds, as well as Australian Jason Scrivener.
2018 Andalucia Valderrama Masters
Round One: Top 5 Leaders
1. Ashley Chesters -5
2. Gregory Bourdy -4
3. Jason Scrivener -3
3. Sergio Garcia -3
3. Alvaro Quiros -3*
3. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano -3*
* Did not complete first round