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Luke Goddard & Damien McGrane top leaderboard

Late entry Luke Goddard of Britain made good use of a sponsor’s invitation on Thursday with a blistering finish to capture a share of the Portuguese Open lead.

The young Londoner birdied the last four holes at Penha Longa to surge to eight-under-par 64 and catch early leader Damien McGrane of Ireland.

They lead by a stroke from Norway’s Eirik Tage Johansen and Briton Stuart Manley.

Goddard, who turned professional last October after an impressive amateur career, came into the field on Monday after earning a sponsor’s invitation.

The 21-year-old 2009 Walker Cup player and former English Amateur champion came to Portugal having missed every cut he had made as a professional. To try to change his luck he brought his girlfriend Lucy to caddie for him again.

Their joint efforts over the closing greens lifted him on to the top of the leaderboard.

“I was just plodding along and then holed four putts from nowhere,” Goddard told reporters. “I’ve not had much success as a pro and Lucy caddied for me when I finished first, second and fifth as an amateur, so I decided to bring her out here.”

McGrane, whose only win came in the 2008 China Open, was another to find his putter suddenly turned hot.

“I gave myself plenty of birdie chances and when they came they came fast and furious,” McGrane, who picked up five shots in six holes,” said.

Andrew Tampion has missed 13 cuts this season and earned only $1,500 dollars but the Australian is looking for a big payday after firing a 66 to share fifth place with Britain’s Richard Bland.

Dane Thomas Bjorn continued his revival in form with a 67 to lie a further stroke back.



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