George Coetzee took his home-course form which brought him a Sunshine Tour victory at the beginning of September to the European Tour’s Portugal Masters on Thursday as he opened with a five-under-par 66.
That left him five shots off the fast pace set by Scotland’s Liam Johnston, with France’s Julien Guerrier, England’s Laurie Canter and Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell on 62, 64 and 65 respectively taking up second, third and fourth.
Coetzee shared fifth with three other players in his first venture abroad since the global shutdown of golf caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and he was one ahead of Brandon Stone who opened with a 67.
Bryce Easton was on three-under, Wilco Nienaber one-under, Haydn Porteous one-over, Justin Walters two-over, Jbe’ Kruger three-over and Jacques Kruyswijk six-over.
The second round gets underway on Friday, with live coverage on DSTV channel 213 from noon.