Date: October 17, 2008

Dash for cash in Portugal

Robert Karlsson took another step towards the Order of Merit title with an opening three-under par 69 but it&aposs Welshman Stuart Manley who leads after the first round of the Portugal Masters. Manley, who fired eight birdies in his seven-under 65, has had to make four trips to the European Tour school since 2003 and is labouring down in 174th on the money list with two events to go. “I need some money,” said the 29-year-old, who has missed the halfway cut in 20 of his 30 events and has to climb into the Order of Merit&aposs top 115 to avoid a return to qualifying. “It&aposs a good time to find form. I&aposve been fantastic in practice, so it must be a mental issue somewhere.” “The greens were a bit bumpy but for some reason the putts went in.” With efforts from 30, 10 and 20 feet, he birdied three of his last four to relegate England&aposs Mark Foster, Indian Jyoti Randhawa and big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros into second place. It was a slow day for the Australasian contingent as only Aussie left-hander Richard Green broke par. Green is tied for 38th after a one-under 71, while Peter O&aposMalley (74) along with Kiwi Mark Brown and Peter Fowler (both 76) are battling to make the cut. Swede Karlsson, who is 112,000 pounds ahead of Padraig Harrington at the top of the Order of Merit, has a chance to more than quadruple that lead with Harrington having chosen to go to Bermuda instead this week for the Grand Slam of Golf. With no Harrington – he lost a play-off to Jim Furyk in Bermuda – the 39-year-old Swede was paired instead with Lee Westwood and Miguel Angel Jimenez, third and fourth in the Order of Merit table, and they managed only 72 and 73 respectively. Karlsson, winner of his last two events and runner-up to Steve Webster in last year&aposs Portugal Masters on the same Oceanico Victoria course, is not immune from fatigue himself. “You definitely know you have flown all over the world for 10 months, but that was not too bad,” said the 39-year-old, who made up for four bogeys with seven birdies. Portugal Masters, Oceanico Victoria Golf Coarse, Results Round 1 (Par 72) -7: Stuart Manley 65 -6: Mark Foster 66, Alvaro Quiros 66, Jyoti Randhawa 66 -5: Martin Erlandsson 67, Ross Fisher 67, Soren Kjeldsen 67, Jean-Francois Lucquin 67, Graeme McDowell 67, Andrew McLardy 67, Sam Walker 67 -4: Felipe Aguilar 68, Sion E Bebb 68, Barry Lane 68, Marcel Siem 68, Marc Warren 68 -3: Jesus Maria Arruti 69, Gregory Bourdy 69, Joao Carlota 69, Magnus A Carlsson 69, Jamie Donaldson 69, David Frost 69, Stephen Gallacher 69, Robert Karlsson 69, James Kingston 69, Rory McIlroy 69, Gary Murphy 69, Phillip Price 69, Graeme Storm 69 Also: -1: Richard Green (Australia) 71 +2: Peter O Malley (Australia) 74 +4: Peter Fowler (Australia) 76, Mark Brown (New Zealand) 76