Struver Leads After Opening 66

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European TourMADEIRA, Portugal -- Sven Struver fired a 6-under-par 66 on Thursday to take the first-round lead at the Madeira Islands Open BPI at Santo da Serra.
 
Hennie Otto is alone in second after an opening-round, 5-under 67.
 
Gregory Bourdy, Peter Gustafsson, Michael Lorenzo-Vera and Fredrik Widmark are knotted in third place at minus-4.
 
Play was suspended due to darkness with only one group on the course. The trio will return Friday to finish the remaining three holes and it should not severely impact the tournament.
 
Struver began his opening round on the back nine Thursday and broke into red figures with a birdie at the 11th. He recorded back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14.
 
The 40-year-old birdied the par-5 16th to reach four-under par for the championship. Struver did not stay at that number for long. He bogeyed the par-4 closing hole to make the turn at minus-3.
 
Struver ascended the leaderboard with his strong play early on his second nine.
 
He birdied the first, third and fifth holes to get to 6 under. Struver parred out for his first opening-round lead since the 1999 South African Open.
 
'I got ahead of myself a little bit at the end and it shouldn't really happen,' acknowledged Struver, who has made two cuts in four tries this season. 'But on the other hand I haven't been in this position for a long time even though I was in the last group in South Africa this year (the Joburg Open), I hadn't been there for 10 years.
 
'But now I am setting the pace it is OK but it is one of those golf courses where anything can happen. I was lucky today, I had a few good bounces, but that is the way that golf goes. Everyone has that and you have to take the positives out of it and take advantage.'
 
Otto posted a pair of birdies to start his round at 10 and 11, but dropped those shots with bogeys at 12 and 13.
 
Otto more than atoned for the errors at the beginning of his second nine. He tallied five birdies in his first six holes, then parred the remaining three for second place.
 
'It was very tricky out there especially for the afternoon starters,' said Otto. 'There were a few tough holes out there and when a few guys were making a few big numbers in front of our group then we had a lot of long waits.'
 
John Bickerton and Matthew King share seventh place at three-under 69.
 
Bradley Dredge, Mattias Eliasson, Alastair Forsyth, Gareth Paddison, Juan Parron, Nicolas Vanhootegem and Peter Whiteford are in the clubhouse tied for ninth at minus-2.
 
Raphael Eyraud is 2 under through 16 holes.
 
This tournament does not have a stellar field as most of Europe's top players are competing at Doral for the World Golf Championships - CA Championship.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Madeira Island Open
  • Full Coverage - Madeira Island Open