The Madeira Islands Open got what it has wanted for two years – a rain-free first round – on Thursday.
A pair of Spaniards took best advantage of the development, as Antonio Hortal fired a 9-under 63 and the best name on the tour, Nacho Elvira, shot an 8-under 64 to take the top two spots on the leaderboard.
The 26-year-old Hortal, who has one Challenger Tour win this year, shot his second sub-65 round in the past three weeks. Hortal was 1-over through four holes, then came alive with two birdies and an eagle to reach the turn at 3-under.
He was just getting started it turned out, as he had three sets of consecutive birdies on the back nine.
Elvira, ranked 217th in the world, was 2-under at the turn, then birdied 10, 11, and closed his round with four straight birdies.
The field is not a particularly glamorous one at Madeira; no player in the field is ranked in the Top 60 of the Race to Dubai standings, and the top-ranked player in the field is Thailand’s Pron Meesawat, who sits 134th in the Official World Golf Rankings. Meesawat shot an even par 72 to tie for 99th on Day One.