England and Scotland moved swiftly into overdrive on Portugal’s Algarve and turned the opening round of The PGAs of Europe International Team Championship into the equivalent of a domestic skirmish.
The two trios negotiated the Alvor Course at the Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort in seven-under-par to leave their pursuers in the 25-strong field playing catch up in the chase for the €6,000 winner’s cheque.
At the end of the first of four rounds, catch-up for third-placed Ireland means eradicating a deficit of six strokes.
South Africa lie a shot behind while defending champions France face an even taller order: Benjamin Nikolay’s team share fifth place with Germany, a shot further adrift.
With the best two of the three scores counting, Steve Parry (67) led the way for England and was supported by Stuart Little and Craig Shave who both posted 70.
Meanwhile, Gareth Wright (68) proved Scotland’s inspiration while David Patrick weighed in with 69 and David Orr finished one-under on 71.
Parry was responsible for the best round of the day: a five-under-par return that featured an eagle on the 462 yard 15th.
Wright also carded an eagle – on the 496 yard 13th. For Scotland’s trail-blazer, however, it was very much a case of what might have been.
“To be honest, although it’s a good score, I’m a bit disappointed,” admitted Wright, the Glenmuir PGA Professional Champion.
“I missed a short putt for an eagle on the 15th and another on the 17th. There were also a couple of putts that horse-shoed and several other short ones didn’t drop. I was striking the ball well from tee to green and it could have been really silly if my putting had matched my approach play.
Wright, along with his two compatriots, is making his debut in the Glenmuir sponsored event and, in contrast to his self-criticism, he was fulsome in his praise for the venue.
“The course is fantastic,” he added. “It’s in great condition and great to play on. It’s very fair and rewards you if you are playing well.”