Sergio Garcia was the early leader on the first day of the Castellon Masters on the course he played as a boy.
The Spaniard, hosting the European Tour’s penultimate event for the season this week, teed off from the 10th hole and began with three birdies and a par to sit three under after four holes.
Englishman John Bickerton also opened his account with back-to-back birdies on the first and second and was a shot back on two under, as were Thomas Levet of France, who birdied three and four, Spaniard Ignacio Garrido and Rory McIlroy.
Yesterday Garcia played down his chances of winning the tournament despite knowing the course like the back of his hand, but he set the pace in a group that also included Ryder Cup team-mate Paul Casey, who was level par, and flamboyant Colombian Camilo Villegas, who dropped a shot at the par-four 11th to be one over.
Welshman Jamie Donaldson endured a nightmare start, racking up three bogeys and a double bogey in his first five holes, and Jose Maria Olazabal, continuing his comeback from injury and fatigue, bogeyed the third to be one over after three holes.