Madrid, Spain, Oct 8: Shubhankar Sharma had a solid start with 4-under 67 with five birdies against one late on sixth, his 15th hole in the first round of the 2021 ACCIONA Open de España presented by Madrid.
Sharma, who has time and again shown glimpses of fine form but also given away some advantage after that was looking good once again.
India’s other star, Gaganjeet Bhullar, who became a first-time father recently, opened with 4-over 75 and needed a good second round to make the cut.
Ross McGowan produced a course record 61 and led the way after round one but World Number One Jon Rahm was just two shots back on home soil.
Englishman McGowan claimed his first European Tour win in the Spanish capital 12 years ago at the Madrid Masters but had to wait 11 years to seal a second at last season’s Italian Open.
Home favourite Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez was his nearest challenger but all eyes were on Rahm, who was at eight under as he seeks a third consecutive victory at his home open.
Rahm, the U.S. Open Champion had huge crowds following him but it was McGowan who stole the headlines as he carded eight birdies and an eagle.
Dutchman Wil Besseling, Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Scot David Drysdale were at seven under, a shot clear of another Scot in Grant Forrest, Kiwi Ryan Fox, Swede Joakim Lagergren and Frenchman Robin Sciot-Siegrist.
Forrest recorded the 31st hole-in-one of the 2021 Race to Dubai, holing an eight iron from 181 yards at the ninth.