Aberdeen duo Richie Ramsay and Paul Lawrie are in the title hunt after the first round of the Spanish Open at Catalunya.
Ramsay is in a group of eight players tied for second place on three-under-par 69, one shot behind leader Eddie Pepperell, of England. Lawrie carded a 70.
Pre-tournament favourite Sergio Garcia and fellow Spaniards Miguel Angel Jimenez and Rafael Cabrera-Bello are also in the group on 69.
For Ramsay, simply being in contention is an achievement as he is feeling under the weather.
He said: “I haven’t been feeling 100% lately as I’ve picked up a bug since Singapore and have really struggled so, hopefully, this is things turning around and an injury and illness free run lies ahead.
“I don’t know where it has come from but I wish it would go away. I’ve been on antibiotics the last two days, which has helped, but with the heat and the hills this week I need to be 100%.”
Ramsay is pleased with his start in Spain but knows he has to maintain his form if he is to remain in contention at the PGA Catalunya Resort.
He added: “It’s a very good score to start the tournament as the greens are firm and fast and the rough is deep and thick. You’ve got to be patient as it’s a challenging course.”
For Lawrie, making his first appearance since February due to a neck injury, his opening 70 was pleasing.
He said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect today as I struggled a little yesterday and haven’t played a competitive round for three-and-a-half months. But I hit it really well and gave myself so many birdie chances. To be two under is decent as the course is pretty long with some tough rough.
“It is really good to be back out there. I had a bit of a sore right shoulder warming up but popped some pills and manned up. We were almost five hours to get round, though, which is a joke. Clearly pace of play hasn’t improved in my time away.”