SEVILLE: A brilliant five under par 67 saw former US PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel move into a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Reale Seguros Open de España.
The 43-year-old American, who triumphed at Oak Hill nine years ago to become a Major Champion, carded eight birdies and three bogeys in more benign afternoon conditions at Reale Club de Golf de Sevilla.
That gave him a one shot lead over home favourite Jorge Campillo and the English pair of Robert Rock and Danny Willett.
Italian Ryder Cup star Francesco Molinari was the best of the morning starters, who had to contend with strong winds and heavy rain, as he signed for a two under par 70, which was matched in the afternoon by his compatriot Matteo Manassero.
The top South African in the field was defending champions Thomas Aiken, who shot a one under 71 to be tied in 12th place.
Micheel turned in 33, struck his approach at the 13th to three feet, holed a five footer at the 15th and two-putted the long 16th from 25 feet to reach six under par.
But he came unstuck at the last, finding sand from the tee, hitting his approach into another bunker and two-putting for bogey.
Rock eagled the 13th and 16th on his return to action after more than a month off.
That break came after his failed attempt to climb into the Official World Golf Ranking’s top 50 in time for the Masters Tournament, but it is the leading 60 who qualify for next month’s US Open Championship and he is currently 60th.