Vilamoura - Sergio Garcia dedicated his round on Thursday in the Portugal Masters to the Spanish women's college golfer killed in Iowa.
Celia Barquin Arozamena, the Big 12 champion this year for Iowa State, was found stabbed to death on Monday.
"It was nice to shoot a nice score and dedicate it to Celia," Garcia said.
Garcia shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday, leaving the Spanish star three strokes behind leader Lucas Herbert of France at Pedro Victoria Golf Course. England's Matt Wallace and Eddie Pepperell and Ireland's Shane Lowry shot 64.
Garcia is preparing for the Ryder Cup next week against the United States.
"The goal was to come here and do as well as I can, to get the competition juices going," he said.
The 22-year-old Arozamena's body was found at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, Iowa. Police charged a 22-year-old homeless man who had been staying in an encampment near the golf course with first-degree murder in her stabbing death.
Leading first round scores in the Portugal Masters at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura, on Thursday (GBR/IRL unless stated, par 71):
63 - Lucas Herbert (AUS)
64 - Matt Wallace, Shane Lowry, Eddie Pepperell
65 - Li Haotong (CHN)
66 - David Howell, Ashley Chesters, Mikko Korhonen (FIN), Raphael Jacquelin (FRA), Renato Paratore (ITA), Kim Koivu (FIN), Jason Scrivener (AUS), Adrien Saddier (FRA), Sergio Garcia (ESP), Gian-Marco Petrozzi
67 - Ricardo Gouveia (POR), Jorge Campillo (ESP), George Coetzee (RSA), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (ESP), Nick Cullen (AUS), Jason Norris (AUS), Chris Hanson, Alejandro Canizares (ESP), Nino Bertasio (ITA), Soomin Lee (KOR), Bradley Dredge
68 - Marcus Kinhult (SWE), Ross Fisher, Maximilian Kieffer (GER), Sebastian Heisele (GER), Tomas Santos Silva (POR), Josh Geary (NZL), Johan Edfors (SWE), Phachara Khongwatmai (THA), Paul Dunne, Austin Connelly (CAN), Yusaku Miyazato (JPN), Nacho Elvira (ESP), Pontus Widegren (SWE), Richard Bland, Lucas Bjerregaard (DEN), Charlie Ford, Haydn Porteous (RSA), Matthieu Pavon (FRA), David Horsey, Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL), Zander Lombard (RSA), Sam Locke, Stephen Gallacher, Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN), Jordan Smith, Pedro Oriol (ESP)