Jarmo Sandelin takes first round honours
Sweden's Jarmo Sandelin enjoyed a rare bogey-free round when he shot a 66 on the first day of the Madeira Island Open to take a two-shot lead on Thursday.
A faultless six-under-par return left Sandelin two strokes better than the 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie, fellow Britons, Gary Emerson and Garry Houston, Swede Fredrik Henge, and Ireland's Damien McGrane.
Sandelin's fortunes went into freefall last year when the extrovert 1999 Ryder Cup player lost his card for the first time since joining the Tour in 1995.
He clawed his way back on tour by taking 10th place at the November qualifying school.
"I don't think I've had a bogey-free round for five years. I need to do it for another three days," Sandelin told reporters.
"One good round won't change anything. I know I need 100 good rounds but at least today I could play like a champion again," added the 38-year-old, who is renowned for his garish clothes and spectacular belts.
Sandelin has won five times on the Tour, including Madeira in 1996, but has not tasted victory since the 2002 Asian Open.
"In my first five years I won five times, made the Ryder Cup and World Cup teams, then in the last five years I find I just can't play," he said.
"There's a bug in the system which I've got to get out because a lot of my supporters are losing faith with me."
His start to the 2006 season, however, has been less than auspicious, with four missed cuts and a retirement because of food-poisoning, in seven events.
He was 183rd on the money list coming into the Madeira event.
Lawrie has also had a thin time of it since his 2002 Wales Open victory but the Scot has given himself a chance of improving on two second places last season.
Sweden's Niclas Fasth, who needs to win this week to have any chance of rising into the world's top 50 from 56th spot and seal a U.S. Masters start, shot a 70.
Fasth won the Madeira Island Open in 2000.
One of the tournament favourites, Britain's Kenneth Ferrie, who is trying to preserve his ninth place in the Ryder Cup table, shot a disappointing 75.