Date: March 21, 2008

Paddison strikes early

New Zealander Gareth Paddison has fired a two-under par 70 to finish in a tie for ninth position after the opening round of the Madeira Islands Open at Santo da Serra. Paddison had an up and down day which featured four birdies and four bogeys as well as a hole-in-one on the par-3 16th to end the day well in contention. Germany&aposs Sven Struver leads South African Hennie Otto by one after a six-under-par opening round of 66. Wade Ormsby is the best Australian in the field seven shots adrift of the leader at one-over par while Matthew Millar is at three-over the card. Struver, who won the last of his three European Tour titles 10 years ago and has had to go to the qualifying school each of the last four seasons, had seven birdies and dropped his only stroke at the 386-yard 18th, his ninth. “I got ahead of myself a little bit at the end and it shouldn&apost really happen, but on the other hand I haven&apost been in this position for a long time,” he told “It is one of those golf courses where anything can happen. I was lucky today – I had a few good bounces, but that is the way that golf goes and you have to take advantage.” Otto, who in January eagled the final hole to come through the African qualifying event for July&aposs Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, is trying to regain his European Tour card and five birdies in a six-hole stretch at the start of the front nine did the 31-year-old a power of good. Frenchmen Gregory Bourdy and Michael Lorenzo-Vera – last year&aposs Challenge Tour No. 1 – and Swedes Peter Gustafsson and Fredrik Widmark share third place. Favourite Bradley Dredge, for whom a second win in the event would take him back into the world&aposs top 50 a week before the cut-off for the Masters, had to settle for a two-under 70. American Notah Begay, given a medical extension this season after suffering back trouble, is among the group on 71, but former Open champion Paul Lawrie began with a six and had further double-bogeys at the 16th and 17th in a 76. Stephen Dodd, Dredge&aposs World Cup-winning partner of three years ago, mixed an eagle and four birdies with five bogeys and two double-bogeys. That added up to a 75.