SAN ROQUE, Spain — James Morrison took advantage of calmer conditions early in the first round to shoot an 8-under 64 and take a 1-shot lead at the Andalucia Masters on Thursday.
Morrison had seven birdies, an eagle and a lone bogey on a day in which players who teed off in the afternoon struggled while facing rain and wind gusts of more than 50 kph (30 mph).
Play was suspended due to darkness and fans were requested to leave the course during the final part of the opening round for safety reasons because of the strong winds.
“I’m very happy,” Morrison said. “Knew the draw was going to be that way and we got more holes in this morning with no wind than we actually thought we were going to get in so we had to make hay while the sun was shining and I did that.”
The Englishman, who won the Spanish Open in 2015, was 7-under through a stretch of seven holes midway through his round at the Real Club de Golf Sotogrande.
“Spain’s been very, very good to me over the last 14 years,” he said. “I love coming here, it suits my eye, most courses inherently aren’t as long as we play on tour, so they’re more positional sort of golf courses.”
U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark, the only top 10 player in the field, was in a tie for 18th after a round of 2-under 70.
Clark was a member of the U.S. team that lost in the Ryder Cup three weeks ago but hadn’t played in a tournament in nearly two months, since the Tour Championship in late August.
“Yeah, it’s been a while. There’s obviously a little rust in that but I was happy with how I played. I feel good about my game,” he said. “Just in the middle part of the round I just really struggled with the wind. I like to think I’m a pretty good wedge player but three wedges I missed the green and two of them I made a bogey and that was all wind-related.”
Matt Kuchar got through the afternoon winds with a 71.
Matthieu Pavon, the Spanish Open winner last week, shot a 2-over-par 74.
Last year the tournament was played at Valderrama, which became part of the LIV Golf League schedule in 2023.
This is the final tournament of the year in continental Europe. The tour next goes to South Africa, followed by the season-ending tournament in Dubai.