Rocca's disaster overshadows Pettersson

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The Independent Online

Carl Pettersson yesterday shot a six-under-par 66 to take the lead during the weather-affected first day of the Algarve Open, but the Swede's round was overshadowed by a sextuple-bogey 10 from the former Ryder Cup player Costantino Rocca.

The Swede was four strokes ahead of the Britons David Gilford, a former Portuguese winner, Gary Evans and Bradley Dredge, and Mikko Ilonen of Finland when play was halted for two hours. Play did resume, but without enough time for everyone to complete their rounds.

Rocca started on the 10th and made a birdie two on his second hole, but by the time he had stepped on to the 13th tee he was four over par. After finding the rough from the tee of the 405-yard 12th, the Italian hit three successive shots out of bounds. His eighth stroke found the back of the green, from where he two-putted. To his credit, he did manage to birdie the 17th and then make up another stroke over his back nine for a 75. Rocca has missed the cut in five of his six events this year, finishing in a tie for 64th in the other.

Pettersson, who is based in North Carolina, made seven birdies and one bogey in his round, twice pitching to within inches of the flag.

The defending champion, Phillip Price, had to brave the worst of the conditions at Vale do Lobo in the afternoon. Strong winds caused play to be delayed when balls were moving on certain of the greens closest to the Atlantic Ocean.