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Scotland’s Warren in front at Portugal Masters

Scotland's Marc Warren

Warren is enjoying a fine close to a year that had threatened to turn sour

Scotland’s Marc Warren opened with an eight-under-par 63 to lead the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura.

The 35-year-old from Glasgow began his impressive round with six successive birdies at Victoria Clube de Golfe, and made just one bogey.

English trio Eddie Pepperell, Matthew Baldwin and Callum Shinkwin are in a group of five at seven under.

Ireland’s three-time major winner Padraig Harrington and Scotland’s 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie both hit 65s.

Defending champion Andy Sullivan ended the first day on four under, the same score as Sweden’s Alex Noren, who is trying to win for the fourth time in nine European Tour events.

Warren, who was a high as 48 in the world rankings last year, has struggled this season but a fifth place at the recent Alfred Dunhill Links Championship made sure he would keep his European Tour card.

The Scot moved up to 67th place in the Race to Dubai with a share of 22nd at last weekend’s British Masters.

“I think I’ve had six or seven birdies in a row but never at the start of the round,” he said.

“It’s an absolutely perfect start. Everything was going right for me, just the right numbers and landing it close and a couple of tap-ins.

“You really have to control your expectations I think more than anything else. You kind of want to just keep hitting it close and making birdies and realise golf is not that easy.

“There are going to be a few holes you’re going to have to dig in and overall I was pleased to keep moving forward on the back nine and come back in two under.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/golf/37723330