Saltman leads European Tour's stop in Portugal

May 16, 2013 at 2:37 PM
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SANTO ANTONIO DA SERRA, Portugal, May 16 (UPI) -- Lloyd Saltman fired nine birdies and shot 8-under-par 64 Thursday in taking the first-round lead at the European Tour's Madeira Islands Open in Portugal.

Saltman had four birdies in his first five holes and, despite a 12th-hole bogey, matched the best round of his professional career. A professional since 2007, he is yet to win a pro tournament.

He owns a two-stroke lead after 18 holes in Portugal. Richard Bland, who was 4-under in his last eight holes, is second at 6-under 66 while Joakim Lagergren, Craig Lee and Mark Tullo are tied for third at 5-under.

Swirling, inconsistent winds made play challenging Thursday but Saltman was able to use strong iron play to take an early lead. He opened with the birdie, posted three in a row over Nos. 3-5 and was 5-under at the turn after a birdie at the ninth.

His lone bogey came at the 12th but he had birdies at 11 and 13 to more than offset it. He closed with birdies at 16 and 18.

Bland had one bogey Thursday but he had four birdies in the span over 2-6.

Lagergren, Lee and Tullo each had one bogey in the round.

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