George Coetzee and Joost Luiten share early lead at Portugal Masters
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 24/09/17 5:34pm
Joost Luiten and George Coetzee hold a share of the lead after the opening round of the Portugal Masters, where Padraig Harrington made a strong start.
The Irishman, who claimed a one-shot win in last year's event, posted four birdies in good scoring conditions at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Club to get with three strokes of the early lead.
Coetzee and Luiten posted matching 64s to set the clubhouse target, with England's Callum Shinkwin one of five players sitting one off the pace.
Luiten was the pick of the morning starters with seven birdies on a blemish-free card, as Coetzee birdied five of his opening six holes in the afternoon session to also get to seven under.
"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. Hopefully, we can keep it going."
Shinkwin is joined one back by Ashun Wu, Jason Scrivener, Gregory Havret and Nino Bertasio, while Eddie Pepperell and Laurie Canter are part of the group of eight players on five under.
Beginning on the back nine, Harrington moved up the leaderboard with three birdies in a four-stretch from the 14th to reach the turn in 33.
Harrington added another gain at the first and had further birdie chances along the closing stretch, with Marc Warren and Graeme Storm also among the players on four under.
Thomas Pieters, the highest-ranked player in the field, bogeyed his final hole to card an opening-round 69, as 2015 champion Andy Sullivan began the week with a one-under 70.
Watch the Portugal Masters throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf. Live coverage continues on Friday from 11.30am.