DAVID Law fired a flawless seven-under opening round 64 at the Betfred British Masters to take a one-stroke lead at the first tournament of the European Tour’s UK Swing.
The 29-year-old Scot, who has one European Tour title to his name, hit a red hot streak with seven birdies in eight holes from the sixth.
The only par during that run came courtesy of a wondrous save from the heavy gorse at the 11th.
Law said: “I was playing steady. You might not be sure what to expect coming into today after the long break. I was delighted with that.
“It’s still a little strange, but the Tour have done a fantastic job. So far I think it’s gone really well.
“The club has hosted us really well. It’s a new time for us, we’re all learning and we’ll all have to get used to it.
“The whole week so far has been very positive,” added the two-time Scottish Amateur champion.
“We’ve been lucky at home and not had anyone affected by the illness, thankfully.
“My daughter is 19 months old, so to have that extended time at home, I’ll never get that again. We had a great time.
“It was a nice time for me because I wasn’t playing the best going into that break. It was a good time to recharge and regroup.”
Fisher so happy be back playing golf
DAVID LAW, who won last year’s ISPS Handa Vic Open, finished the day one shot clear of Essx’s Oliver Fisher and Northumberland’s Garrick Porteous.
The English pair matched Italy’s Renato Paratore, who carded a round of 65 at Close House Golf Club, on the outskirts of Newcastle.
Fisher, who famously became the first player to shoot a 59 on the European Tour in Portugal two years ago, said: “I added my score up at the end and it’s weird to think I’ve shot 65 today.
“Obviously I’m chuffed about it. It’s weird to be back and playing professional golf, and I’m delighted with my score.
“I started off okay, the pins here and the greens are quite tricky in places. They tuck them and there are ridges on the edges of the greens where it can fall off and they can catch you out.
“There was a little bit of rain and it was quite fiery. There was a bit of a skid going, so with wedges early on it was hard to get close.
“I travelled up a couple of days ago, we’ve got a nice run in the UK. A lot of things to enjoy and hopefully we can all continue with social distancing and sticking to the routine of doing everything as properly as we can.
“The Tour have been great at stressing that to us. I’m delighted to be back and delighted with my score.”
Local knowledge helps Garrick Porteous
GARRICK Porteous, who won The Amateur Championship at Royal Cinque Ports in 2013, revealed a lot of local knowledge had contributed to his good start.
The 30-year-old, who played in the 2013 Open and made his Masters debut in 2014, has been confined to the Challenge Tour for most of his six years as a professional.
Porteous, who earned his European Tour card at last year’s Qualifying School, said: “I’ve played a few mini-tour things in the Leeds area.
“But I live 15 minutes from here, so I’ve been practising here a lot. I’ve played the course for so many years now anyway.
“It’s in great condition. I’m pretty familiar with the course, but its in the best condition I’ve ever seen it.
“Knowing the course so well can put a bit more pressure on you. I probably felt that early on.
“Once I settled down and made some birdies it was alright. I made some good swings and some good birdies.”
Physical work in lockdown pays off for Paratore
PARATORE, who hails from Rome, said: “I played really solid. I had a bogey-free round and played really well from tee to green.
“I started really well with three birdies, I saved a couple of pars with some really good putts – a solid round.
“It was a good way to come back. It was good to know the European Tour was starting again.
Renato added: “It wasn’t easy during the lockdown. I’m really happy to be here right now.
“During lockdown I didn’t practice, just physically and rested a lot,” said the Italian, who lost a play-off to Danish teenager Rasmus Højgaard in Mauritius, in December.
“Then golf courses reopened, so I started to practice a lot in June. So I prepared well for the first tournament,” said the winner of the 2017 Nordea Masters.
Tournament host Lee Westwood, battled to a one-under 70 while Oxfordshire’s Eddie Pepperell had a solid start on his return to golf after four months out, signing for a four-under 67.
•For live scoring in round two and to follow David Law click here.