Olazabal and Others Chasing Teenager Olander

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COSTA ADEJE, Canary Islands -- South Africa's Charl Schwartzel fired a 9-under 63 to grab a share of the lead after the opening round of the Canarias Open de Espana. Schwartzel was joined atop the leaderboard by Marten Olander of Sweden, one shot clear of their closest competitors.
 
'Generally speaking I didn't play very well. I didn't drive very well and missed a lot of fairways. But you can get away with it on this course,' said Schwartzel. 'I was never really in big trouble, my iron play was good and then on my back nine my putter woke up.'
 
The 18-year-old, who is competing in only his 11th event as a professional, started on the back side at Golf Costa Adeje and was fairly quiet early with two birdies over his first nine holes to make the turn at 2-under.
 
Schwartzel caught fire on his second nine, however. He birdied the first and continued to roll with an eagle at the third and a subsequent birdie at the fourth. Schwartzel then eagled the par-5 eighth and added a birdie at the last for the best round of his young career.
 
Olander crafter his round in flawless fashion. Like Schwartzel, he played the back side first and racked up four birdies and an eagle to go out in 30.
 
Olander collected three additional birdies on his inward half to grab a share of the lead after a day in which low scores were plentiful off the coast of Spain.
 
A large group was logjammed at 8-under-par 64. Among those was local favorite Jose Maria Olazabal, who closed with an eagle at the par-5 18th to finish near the top.
 
Olazabal was joined by Soren Hansen, Paul Casey, Miles Tunnicliff, Fredrik Andersson, Shaun P. Webster, Peter Hedblom, Andrew Oldcorn and Jarmo Sandelin in a tie for third.
 
'If there is no 59 I would be disappointed,' said Sandelin of the scoring conditions. 'There are so many eagle opportunities. It takes a lot still, but there are good players in the field.'
 
Hansen, who had nine birdies and one bogey for his best round of the season, agreed.
 
'It's going to be a really low week, but you still have to do it,' said the Dane. 'The key is to stay patient.'
 
Andrew Marshall, Graeme McDowell, Nicolas Colsaerts, Julien Van Hauwe and Gordon Brand, Jr. finished tied for 12th at 7-under-par 65.
 
Miguel Angel Jimenez, Phillip Price and Paul McGinley were part of a group at 6-under-par 66.
 
Defending champion Sergio Garcia couldn't take advantage of the scoring opportunities on Thursday. Garcia, who made his professional debut at this event in 1999, had two birdies, an eagle and a bogey for a round of 69.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Canarias Open de Espana
  • Full coverage of the Canarias Open de Espana