Coetzee keeps Luiten in check at Portugal Masters

Updated: 

Joost Luiten and George Coetzee will take a one-shot lead into the second round of the Portugal Masters after finishing day one seven under in Vilamoura.

The pair both signed for rounds of 64 on Thursday as the majority of the field enjoyed good scoring conditions, Coetzee registering an extra birdie to make up for a dropped shot on his back nine.

Luiten was first to hit the front as his poor form came to a dramatic and welcome end, the Dutchman having missed the cut in three of his last four European Tour events.

Starting at the 10th, Luiten picked up an early shot at the 11th before finishing off his first nine with three birdies in four holes.

Another three came his way - including chipping in at the fifth - as he closed out a blemish-free round with a three at the par-four ninth.

"It was a tough week last week for me missing the cut by one, but the good thing about golf is that there is always next week," he said after his lowest round in over a year.

"I knew my game wasn't far off and it is good that it showed today that I am getting in the right shape."

Wu Ashun had joined Luiten at the top of the leaderboard but a bogey at the 16th meant he had to settle for a share of second place with four others.

Instead it was Coetzee - off the back of finishing in a tie for third at the KLM Open last week - who kept pace with Luiten, the South African racking up four birdies in a row en route to making the turn in 30.

But a costly bogey denied him the outright lead, before he picked up two shots in his final five holes to finish the day on -7.

Joining Wu a shot back are Jason Scrivener, Gregory Havret, Nino Bertasio and Callum Shinkwin, while defending champion Padraig Harrington goes into day two on four under.