Matthew Zions Matthew Zions early leader of Open de Andalucia in Spain

Australian Matthew Zions shot a opening round 65 Thursday to take the lead of the European PGA Tour's Valle Romano Open de Andalucia at Aloha Golf Club on Spain's Costa del Sol.

Zions, who lives in Denver, is one shot ahead of Spaniard Alejandro Canizares, with another Spaniard, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (winner of last week's Italia Open) two shots back, at five-under-par.

Zions posted eight birdies and one bogey on his round.

"I just switched off my brain on the greens and the ball was disappearing from everywhere. It's taken me a while to adjust to life on Tour - it can be a little intimidating out there - but I've gone back to basics and just plugged away," he told reporters.

If Zions is able to hold his lead, it would be his first victory on the European Tour. He only got his tour card last year, after going through all three stages of the European Q-school.

"It's been interesting" he said. "Because I live in the US, I originally came over here to warm up for the Qualifying School in America, but I played well at San Roque to get my card and realised that it's really friendly here. I enjoy hanging out with a great bunch of guys."

European Challenge Tour highlights

Michiel Bothma of South Africa is the second round leader in the clubhouse at the A.G.F. Allianz Golf Open de Toulouse in France. A six-under-par 66 in his second round has Bothma sitting at 9-under-par, one stroke ahead of Nicolas Van Hootegem of Belgium, who is also in the clubhouse.

Two shared the first round lead, shooting eight-under-par rounds of 64 yesterday to begin the tournament: Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland and Christian Reimbold of Germany.

Hoey fell back to the field midway through is second round today, sitting at sevevn-uder. Reimbold was to tee off this afternoon.

European Seniors Tour highlights

Delroy Cambridge of Jamaica, Stewart Ginn of Australia and Tony Johnstone of Zimbabwe share the opening round lead at the Gloria Classic in Belek, Turkey.

Each shot first round 67s to sit at five-under-par for the tournament.

England's Gordon Brand, who has won the last two events on the Seniors circuit, is three back at two-under-par.

May 11, 2007

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