Marcus Armitage fired a flawless 63 in the opening round of the Mallorca Golf Open to set a new course record at Son Muntaner Golf Club and take a one-shot lead into day two.
The Englishman carded eight birdies and no bogeys, closing his round with back-to-back gains on the 8th and 9th to head into the clubhouse on eight under par.
None of the afternoon starters was able to catch Armitage at the summit, with Daan Huizing his nearest challenger on seven under courtesy of his sparkling 64 which featured a magnificent eagle and five birdies.
Alejandro Cañizares, Rasmus Højgaard and Lukas Nemecz were another shot back in a tie for third.
Armitage started from the 10th tee and picked up his first shot of the day at the 11th before holing from 28 feet on the 12th to make it back-to-back birdies.
Two more birdies followed at the 15th and 17th before the 35-year-old produced a phenomenal par save on the 18th to keep his card clean.
After making further gains on the 2nd and 5th holes, Armitage finished with a flourish, converting birdie putts from around nine feet at the 8th and 9th to move two shots clear of the chasing pack.
“It was great, it’s wicked when you do that,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, last week my second-round 67 felt like a 63 or 62 to me, but this week’s a bit different and it’s nice to play like that and get off to a start like that.”
Darren Fichardt is the leading South African in the field after he carded a five-under 66. Justin Walters is just behind him on three under, while Compleat Golfer playing editor Brandon Stone and Daniel van Tonder are another shot back at two under.
Louis de Jager, Wilco Nienaber, Haydn Porteous and Erik van Rooyen are all looking for a better second round after finishing level par, while Richard Sterne has a lot of work to do to make the cut after carding a three-over 74 in the first round to sit in a tie for 102nd place.
Armitage started the week 68th on the DP World Tour Rankings and has his sights set on booking his ticket to the season finale in Dubai.
“I’ve had some great starts to tournaments this year and just not finished them off,” he added. “It’s not been a bad season but it’s not been a great one so you’ve got your mind on getting into the DP World Tour Championship because then you have a chance to finish an average season fantastically.
“So it is in the back of my mind, if I can get a top result this week, maybe even a win, I can have a week off and rest and get out to the final tournaments of the season.”
Dutchman Huizing also started from the 10th and carded seven straight pars before breaking that run in style with a hole-out eagle on the 17th and three successive birdies at the 18th, 1st and 2nd.
He picked up further shots at the 4th and 9th to move to seven under.
“My play was nice, but I’ve been playing well in recent weeks and just didn’t get much out of it,” Huizing said. “The way I started today wasn’t great, I hit it nicely but didn’t make the putts and then I holed out a wedge at the 17th and got it going from there.
“I hit a few more close, holed a few nice putts and at the end of the day you have to hole the putts, luckily I was able to do that today.
“Tee to green it’s been good for a while but last week at Valderrama I played great tee to green and I missed the cut, so I just managed to hole the putts. You know you need to do that to make a score and it was nice to get it going.
“I know I need to do a bit more to keep my card, for sure. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to forgetting about all of that and focusing on the next shot and your task. Just boiling it down to that, and the better you can do that the better you’re going to play.
“I was able to do that well and that’s got to be the same story going forward, put your head down, try and play as well as you can and continue that good stuff.”
– Report from DP World Tour website