Nino Bertasio produced the lowest round of his European Tour career to open up a commanding four shot lead on day one of the 2021 Portugal Masters.
After covering the front nine in 31 shots on Thursday morning, Bertasio closed his first round with six birdies over the last seven holes to sign for a flawless 61 and reach ten under par.
Adri Arnaus was the Italian's nearest challenger on six under after posting a bogey free 65 in the afternoon. Gavin Green was another shot further back on five under after carding an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys.
Beginning his round at 08.00 at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, Bertasio started brightly, following up birdies at the second and fifth with back to back gains on the seventh and eighth to get to four under and grab a share of the lead.
He tapped in from close range for another birdie at the par five 12th, before converting his 23 foot birdie try on the short 13th to move out in front on his own.
After holing from six feet on the next for a hat-trick of birdies, Bertasio made it four in a row with another birdie putt from a similar distance at the 15th.
The run was broken with a rare par on the 16th but Bertasio did not have to wait long for his next birdie, rolling in from inside five feet at the 17th before picking up yet another shot at the last to get to double figures under par.
After his round, Bertasio said: "I got off to a good start, birdied the second after hitting it close and I started making some putts. "I made a lot of putts on the front nine and played really solid on the back. Hit a few close, hit the par fives in two and the birdie on the last was a bonus. "Today’s a different wind, we normally play it down off the left and today it was in-to. Very happy to finish birdie- birdie. "I wasn’t thinking about it (a 59), I’m not going to lie. Just trying to finish a good round. "I wasn’t expecting a 61, but I have been playing nicely. I putted really well today and everything clicked.
"We’ll see what happens tomorrow. I’ll just try and go out and have fun, I’ve got a great group with Sam Horsfield and Julian (Suri), we had a lot of fun. I’ll try and stick to that."
When Bertasio walked off the 18th green he was six shots ahead of his closest competitors, but his lead was trimmed in the afternoon as Arnaus made birdies at the first, seventh, 11th, 12th, 14th and 15th to jump to six under.
Arnaus said: "My goal every day is to go out there, have fun and try and play my best. "At the start of the day I felt as though things were on point, so I took advantage of it."
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