Published Thursday, 11 October 2012
Darren Clarke in action in the Portugal Masters. (© Getty)
The Dungannon man took to the Oceânico Victoria course in Vilamoura on Thursday morning.
Clarke's scorecard included at eagle at the ninth, three birdies and four bogeys, to finish five shots behind early joint leaders Ross Fisher and Stephen Gallacher and their opening six-under-par 65s.
"I just feel comfortable here and the game feels good," Fisher said.
Gallacher added: There's not much rough and the greens are unbelievably good.
"I got off to a good start, which was nice. When the wind picked up, it was pretty tough."
Clarke's fellow Northern Ireland golfers Gareth Maybin and Michael Hoey are also competing.
Maybin finished on a two-under 69, after clocking up five birdies and three bogeys, while Hoey was on level par after eight holes.
Dubliner Padraig Harrington, who missed out on joining Ryder Cup vice-captain Clarke at Medinah, also finished on a two-under-par 69.
His fellow Irishman Damien McGrane joined Clarke in finishing one-under-par, while Team Europe captain José María Olazábal finished his opening round on a four-over-par 75.