Estoril Open
Estoril Open
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News and report from the 1st round
Scores from the 1st round
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Scores from the 2nd round
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Scores from the 3rd round
News and report from the 4th round
Scores from the 4th round

Van Phillips in driving seat

England's Van Phillips survived the worst the Portuguese weather could throw at him to claim the lead in the first round of the Estoril Open today.

The 27-year-old from Maidenhead battled through gusting winds, torrential rain, sunshine and even a brief hailstorm at Penha Longa to fire an opening 69 and set the early target.

Three birdies in the first four holes gave him the perfect start, and he fought back well after consecutive bogeys to play the back nine in one under with one birdie and eight pars, despite the return of the strong winds which had forced yesterday's pro-am to be cancelled.

That left him one shot ahead of playing partners David Carter and Ireland's Paul McGinley, who also mastered the conditions to post rounds of 70, two under par, along with South African Retief Goosen, making his comeback after breaking his arm skiing earlier this year.

Phillips, who claimed his first European Tour win in the Algarve Open last month, joked: "It's a pity not every event is in Portugal.

"I'd have settled for that before the start. It was horrible for the first few holes this morning - cold with wind and rain.

"It was probably a two-club wind, and on some holes you have to hit some really risky shots, aiming 30 yards left of the green and just hoping the wind will blow it back.

"For the last two weeks I was in Barbados where the temperature was in the 80s - but at least it was fairly windy too and good practice for coming here."

The later starters found the wind picking up in the afternoon and struggled to match Phillips' score, with New Zealander Michael Long making the strongest challenge.

Long, starting at the 10th, birdied the 11th, 12th and 13th to be three under after six holes.

Justin Rose's troubles had earlier continued with a six-over-par 78, although the 18-year-old battled on well after being five over after his first six holes.