Jonathan Caldwell joined in the scoring spree on the opening day of the Mallorca Open where he produced six birdies, three on either nine, in a four-under par 66 in bright but windy conditions on the host Santa Ponsa course located on the somewhat exposed south-western tip of the holiday island.
Denmark’s Jeff Winther muscled his way to an eight-under par 62 that included eight birdies, and two lots of four birdies in succession on each nine while Swede Niklas Lemke and South African Bryce Easton share second at seven-under par with a further 10 players between the leading three and Caldwell, the leading Irishman who shares 14th spot with a dozen others.
Caldwell, starting from the 10th tee, raced to two-under par with birdies at 11 and 12 before sandwiching a 14th hole birdie between bogeys on 13 and 16.
The Clandeboye golfer was one-under at turn and produced a blemish-free inward half of three birdies at the first, fifth and ninth holes.
Winther, 33, showed his fondness for Spain’s Atlantic Ocean islands though with his 62 matching a European Tour career low he had posted earlier this year on day three of the Grand Canaria Open on route to finishing third.
“I am very pleased”, he said. “I played with two great guys today (Matthieu Pavon and Victor Dubuisson), we had a lot of fun out there, so it was lovely.
“I didn’t have any expectations going into this week, got my family here so we are just trying to enjoy it. I took the whole day off yesterday, didn’t touch a club. Warmed up on the range where we can only hit five irons. Apparently that’s the way to do it.
“The group in front of us, we had to wait on 17 tee, which was a bit annoying, but Victor told a few stories so it was all good. I just pulled the drive a little bit and got into deep, deep rough. I was there in the practice round as well so I knew it was quite thick. Decided not to hit it, dropped it back bogey from there.
“We played in absolutely no wind the first 14 holes probably, now it’s almost a two-club wind on the last so it’s getting difficult”.
Greystones’ Paul Dunne with five birdies in a three-under 67 is the next best of the Irish with Royal Dublin’s Niall Kearney signing for a one-over 71 that included one birdie and two bogeys.
Ardglass’ Cormac Sharvin got off to a horror start in doubling the first before making the turn at level par following birdies at seven and nine but then finished bogey, birdie and bogey also for a 71 while Gavin Moynihan finds himself right near the tail end of the field following a terrible round of 77 that included two birdies but also five bogeys and a pair of double-bogeys.