Sergio Garcia found some form ahead of next week's Ryder Cup with a five-under-par 66 on the first day of the Portugal Masters.
The Spaniard, one of European captain Thomas Bjorn's four wildcard picks, is playing in Vilamoura as a tune-up event and will have been pleased to complete his opening 18 with seven birdies.
There were two bogeys, but Garcia has not registered a top-10 finish on the European Tour since the start of July and is currently tied for sixth in a tournament led by Lucas Herbert.
"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," Garcia told the European Tour's website.
"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."
Herbert, bidding for a full card next year, eagled the par-four 15th and accompanied that with six birdies during a bogey-free 63 that equalled his lowest round on the Tour.
Eddie Pepperell, one of those overlooked for Bjorn's wildcards, continued to impress since his Ryder Cup snub by carding a 64.
The 27-year-old was thought to be in contention for the European team but Bjorn opted for the experienced quartet of Garcia, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson.
Since learning he would not be involved, Pepperell finished tied-sixth at last week's KLM Open and then impressed with a blemish-free round on the Dom Pedro Victoria Course.
Compatriot Matt Wallace, another who Bjorn may have considered, is also one shot back of Herbert, along with Irishman Shane Lowry.
24 de marzo 2019
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