Lawrie and Gallacher rays of sunshine in Portugal


Scotland’s golfers may be more accustomed to playing in howling

gales and torrential rain, but Paul Lawrie and Stephen Gallacher

enjoyed the sunshine as they joined in with the birdie bonanza on

the first day at the Portugal


The glorious conditions left the Oceanico Victoria course at

Vilamoura open to attack and Lawrie and Gallacher’s opening round

67s were only good enough for a share of seventh spot.

Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, the former Dunhill links champion,

carded a bogey-free round of eight-under-par 64 to join compatriot

Johan Edfors and Holland’s Maarten Lafeber at the top of the


The Scottish pair were content although Gallacher was left to

rue a dropped shot on his final hole. The Press and Journal

columnist collected a trio of birdies on each nine before the slip

up at the last.

Lawrie also carded just one bogey and was four under par at the

turn after a run of four 3s to his night hole, which equated to two

birdies and an eagle.

Karlsson and Edfors led a strong Swedish challenge. Another

Swede, Alexander Noren, was a shot further back, with Finland’s

Mikko Ilonen.

David Horsey was the best-placed Englishman on six under,

alongside veteran Irishman Paul McGinley.

“I think with this kind of set-up with not so much rough, that’s

very often what we play in Sweden,” Karlsson said. “It’s a bit

similar to Swedish golf, and the speed of the greens as well are

not super fast. I think we are very used to playing this type of

golf on our home courses where we grew up.”

Edfors did much of his good work in his back nine with five

birdies to add to the three he produced on the way out.

Lafeber might have held the lead on his own but for a double

bogey on the par-four 18th, which ruined an otherwise impressive

round that included nine birdies.

Of Europe’s Ryder Cup heroes, England’s Ross Fisher and Edoardo

Molinari were best placed after shooting four-under-par rounds of


Miguel Angel Jimenez was two shots further back.

Aberdeen’s Richie Ramsay needs to make up ground after his 70

while Alastair Forsyth endured a frustrating one over par 73.

Bothwell’s Steven O’Hara posted a 68.