Kingston finds the right approach

South Africa’s James Kingston was on top of the pile at eight under par after day one of the Portugal Masters saw 31 players achieve a score of five under or better.

It was a good day for British and Irish golfers as the day ended with 13, including Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington, within three strokes of the lead, highlighted by Simon Khan, Gareth Maybin and Rhys Davies who each claimed a share of second at seven under.

But it was Kingston who led the field after a round which included nine birdies and a bogey.

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The South African picked up a shot on the fourth, but it was a run of five birdies from the eight which formed the backbone of his round.

His back nine included six birdies, with the only blemish coming at the par-three 16th.

He said: “It was a really nice round of golf. I played really steadily, gave myself so many chances, and it was enjoyable.

“I put the ball in play most of the day, gave myself some really good approach shots into the greens and hit some really good pitch shots.”

Germany’s Martin Kaymer has the chance to steal a march in the Race to Dubai standings with the four players above him – Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel and Lee Westwood – taking the week off. He was well positioned after day one on five under, in a tie for 16th.

Richard Finch led the Yorkshire charge with a 71, with Harrogate’s John Parry and Malton’s Simon Dyson a further shot back.

Sheffield’s Danny Willett hit an opening round of 75.