Portugal´s Day in the Sun

England have made a quiet start to the 2008 Portugal Nations Cup with Sam Hutsby (76), Luke Goddard (70) and Jamie Abbott (73) producing a team score of -3 for the opening round. It was a case of gritting their teeth and battling hard for the English threesome, only Luke Goddard´s opening nine holes of 34(-3) gave a true glimpse of the team´s potential. However, in a scoreline reminiscent of 2007, they remain in touch at just five shots off the pace.

Sam got off to a disastrous start and an eagle on the final hole was the best possible outcome on a day when his score could have been much higher. Jamie Abbott played well from tee to green but struggled with the pace of the putting surfaces in his round of level par and meanwhile Luke consolidated his front nine total with a string of steady scores over the closing holes.

The first day undoubtedly belongs to hosts Portugal who returned a team score of -8, remarkably without talisman Pedro Figueiredo who was forced to pull-out on the eve of the tournament with a bronchus infection. Jose Maria Joia was chiefly responsible for their low team score, he returned a 66 (-7) that sets the pace on the individual leaderboard by one from Dutchman Renier Saxton.

England lie in 6th place at the end of day one with France, Holland, Austria and Belgium sandwiched between them and the leaders Portugal but it remains a tight affair and the English threesome are confident they can make progress tomorrow after completing the first day without really getting out of third gear.

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