Kingston sets pace in Portugal

South African shoots 64 as birdies fly at Vilamoura

Last Updated: 14/10/11 12:55pm

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James Kingston: Birdied seven holes out of eight during the middle of his round

James Kingston: Birdied seven holes out of eight during the middle of his round

James Kingston shot an eight-under 64 to take the first round lead at the Portugal Masters.

The South African poured in nine birdies - including a sizzling run of seven in eight holes - on a day of low scoring at Vilamoura's Oceanico Victoria Golf Course which saw 96 players break par.

He leads by one from Dane Thomas Bjorn, England's Simon Khan, Northern Ireland's Gareth Maybin, Welshman Rhys Davies and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger.

It's then a further shot back to a nine-man group on six-under which includes English pair Steve Webster (a former winner here) and Ross Fisher, along with Swedish Ryder Cup star Peter Hanson.

Leader Kingston was only one-under teeing off at the eighth but then came a run of five straight birdies.

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Tail got in the air

"I felt I could have done a little better earlier in the round, then all of a sudden I made one or two and my tail got in the air," said Kingston, who went on to par the 13th before adding two more birdies at 14 and 15.

His one blemish of the day came at 16 but a final birdie at 18 was enough to give him the outright lead on eight-under.

Bjorn, seeking a fourth win of the season, had seven birdies and not a single bogey on his card. He said: "I played nicely early on and rolled in a few good putts. It got a bit scruffy towards the end."

Elsewhere, there were more good signs for Padraig Harrington, who shot a five-under 67.

Harrington, who finished tied eighth in the Dunhill Links Championship on his last start, carded eight birdies and three bogeys to finish just three back.

He was joined at five-under by 2010 Ryder Cup skipper Colin Montgomerie and Germany's Martin Kaymer.

Kaymer has the chance to make a move in the Race to Dubai standings this week with the four players above him - Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel and Lee Westwood - not taking part.

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