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Dublin: 2 °C Thursday 18 October, 2018
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Shane Lowry one shot off the lead in Portugal, Sergio Garcia impresses

Australia’s Lucas Herbert led after the first round on Thursday.

Shane Lowry (file pic).
Shane Lowry (file pic).
Image: Debby Wong

SERGIO GARCIA ADMITTED he was already planning his Ryder Cup strategy for next week’s showdown against the United States after carding an impressive five-under par 66 in the first round of the Portugal Masters on Thursday, while Shane Lowry found himself one shot off the lead at the event.

The 38-year-old Spaniard was selected as one of four captain’s picks by European skipper Thomas Bjorn for the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National just outside Paris which starts on September 28.

The 2017 Masters champion will be playing in the event for the ninth time and has the all-time points record for Europe in his sights.

After finishing three shots off the lead on Thursday, Garcia was already picturing his Ryder Cup campaign.

On the last I was thinking a little bit that this could be the kind of putt that you could have next week on the 18th to maybe win or halve a match. It gave me a little bit of nice motivation,” he said after sinking a clutch putt on the last at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.

“I’ve had three or four-week breaks before so more than anything it’s nice to be out here and, like I said yesterday, get the competition juices going,” he added.

“Obviously I want to try to put together as many good rounds as possible but next week is different. The pressure is different, the atmosphere is different and I’m very excited for it.”

Australia’s Lucas Herbert led after the first round on Thursday with an impressive eight-under 63. 

Matt Wallace, Lowry and Eddie Pepperell were a shot further back with China’s Li Haotong two off the pace.

Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, the only other Ryder Cup player in action at the event, carded a steady 68.

Leading first round scores in the Portugal Masters at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura, on Thursday (GBR/IRL unless stated, par 71): 

63 - Lucas Herbert (AUS) 

64 - Matt Wallace, Shane Lowry, Eddie Pepperell 

65 – Li Haotong ( CHN

66 – David Howell, Ashley Chesters , Mikko Korhonen (FIN), Raphael Jacquelin (FRA), Renato Paratore (ITA), Kim Koivu (FIN), Jason Scrivener (AUS), Adrien Saddier (FRA), Sergio Garcia (ESP), Gian-Marco Petrozzi

67 – Ricardo Gouveia (POR), Jorge Campillo (ESP), George Coetzee (RSA), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (ESP), Nick Cullen (AUS), Jason Norris (AUS), Chris Hanson, Alejandro Canizares (ESP), Nino Bertasio (ITA), Soomin Lee ( KOR ), Bradley Dredge 

68 – Marcus Kinhult ( SWE ), Ross Fisher, Maximilian Kieffer (GER) Sebastian Heisele (GER) Tomas Santos Silva (POR) Josh Geary ( NZL ) Johan Edfors ( SWE ) Phachara Khongwatmai (THA) Paul Dunne Austin Connelly (CAN), Yusaku Miyazato ( JPN ), Nacho Elvira (ESP), Pontus Widegren ( ENG ), Richard Among Lucas Bjerregaard (THE), Charlie Ford, Haydn Porteous (RSA), Matthieu Pavon (FRA), David Horsey , NicolasColsaerts (BEL), Zander Lombard (RSA), Sam Locke, Stephen Gallacher , Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN), Jordan Smith, Pedro Oriol (ESP)

© AFP 2018

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