European Tour

Laporta grabs Canary Islands lead with Harding, De Jager in the hunt

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Italian golfer Francesco Laporta (Getty Images)
Italian golfer Francesco Laporta (Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Italy's Francesco Laporta carded the lowest round of his European Tour career to lead on Thursday after the opening round of the Canary Islands Championship.

Laporta posted 62 to get to nine-under and lead by one from home favourite Scott Fernandez.

There were then two more Spaniards in Adri Arnaus and Alfredo Garcia-Heredia at seven under alongside Frenchman Joël Stalter.

Laporta has been under par in ten of his last 11 rounds as he continues to search for his maiden European Tour title.

"It was one of those days when everything goes in the right direction. I started thinking about 59 also, when I was nine under through 14. On 17 I was putting for birdie from five metres," said Laporta.

"I was thinking 'just make this and go for eagle on the last'. I wasn't so lucky on the last hole, my drive went into the trees. But I'm still nine under so I'm pretty happy about the round."

South Africa's Justin Harding carded for a six-under 65 to join fellow countryman Louis de Jager and eight others tied for sixth.

"I played pretty solid to be fair. You've got to take advantage of the par fives around here. I hit two poor shots into two of them and didn't get it up and down. But that's kind of the nature of the golf course," said Harding following his round.

"I feel like I've got good control over my game. I can take on some different shots when I feel like it's necessary. It's safe to say I'm a fair-weather golfer - I didn't do very well in Austria, didn't enjoy that whatsoever. Just trying to give myself as many opportunities as I can and hopefully roll in a couple of putts."

Leading first round scores in the European Tour's Canary Islands Championship at Golf Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Spain, on Thursday (GBR/IRL unless stated, Par 71):

62 - Francesco Laporta (ITA)

63 - Scott Fernandez (ESP)

64 - Alfredo Garcia-Heredia (ESP), Adria Arnaus (ESP), Joel Stalter (FRA)

65 - Richard Mansell, Justin Harding (RSA), Richie Ramsay, Calum Hill, Aaron Cockerill (CAN), Louis de Jager (RSA), Paul Dunne, Rhys Enoch, Pep Angles (ESP), Kalle Samooja (FIN)

66 - Garrick Higgo (RSA), Jorge Campillo (ESP), Eddie Pepperell, Zander Lombard (RSA), Julian Suri (USA), Tapio Pulkkanen (FIN), Matthieu Pavon (FRA), Oliver Fisher, Connor Syme, Robin Sciot-Siegrist (FRA), Garrick Porteous

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