Murray gains a share of the lead in Madeira

GEORGE Murray, the former Scottish amateur champion, is sharing the lead after the opening round of the Madeira Island Open.

Making the most of a rare European Tour start, the Fifer shot a six-under-par 66 on Porto Santo Island in the Portuguese archipelago to set the pace along with English duo Chris Gane and Ben Evans and Portugal's Jos-Felipe Lima.

Murray, the world No 677, bagged seven birdies with the only blemish on his card being a bogey at the short ninth.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Another former Scottish amateur champion, Andrew McArthur, and Jamie McLeary, last year's Scottish Hydro Challenge winner, also got off to promising start as they signed for 67s.

McArthur, the world No 434 had birdies on the third and the eighth before adding further ones on the 11th, 12th and 14th in a blemish-free round.

"I'm delighted with that score," admitted McArthur. "I've had a niggling hip injury so that's hindering my swing. I've got no idea how I did it, I just woke up with it on Saturday morning and was struggling to walk.

"It certainly wasn't pretty today because I missed a lot of greens. I was just getting up and down very well, so I'm very happy to be five under.

"Of course it would be great to win this week. There are a lot of guys desperate to do that though so it will be tough. It's such a fine line between big money on The European Tour and playing EuroPro Tour. One minute you're playing main Tour but if you take your eye off the ball you're back in the small time."

Gane started his round with a birdie on the 10th, his opening hole, before adding further birdies on the 12th, 18th, third and sixth, together with an eagle on the 14th.

Andrew Coltart shot a 69, two less than Scott Drummond, while Callum Macaualy, second in this event 12 months ago, had a 72 along with Richie Ramsay, Steven O'Hara, Scott Jamieson and Chris Doak.