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‘I started thinking about 59,’ Canary Islands leader concedes

Francesco Laporta leads first round 2021 Canary Islands Championship
Francesco Laporta shoots 9-under 62 on Thursday for the 1st-round lead at the European Tour’s Canary Islands Championship.

Italy’s Francesco Laporta pars final 4 holes and signs for 62 and 1st-round lead at European Tour’s Canary Islands Championship

At No. 232 in the world, Italy’s Francesco Laporta easily could have been overlooked this week entering the European Tour’s Canary Islands Championship. Consider his play in 2021: seven starts, three missed cuts and no result better than a T-33, at last week’s Tenerife Open.

Of course, he started even with everybody Thursday, but he certainly didn’t finish that way.

Laporta shot 9-under 62 at Golf Costa Adeje on Spain’s Tenerife Island, opening a one-stroke lead in the third event of a three-week swing in the Spanish archipelago. He used a phenomenal midround blitz during which he went 7 under during an eight-hole stretch that included a bogey. A “59 watch” was out briefly, but Laporta parred his final four holes before signing for his career-low score.

“It was one of those days when everything goes in the right direction,” said Laporta, who is looking for his first victory on the European Tour after winning twice on the Challenge Tour in 2019 en route to claiming the developmental tour’s Order of Merit. “I started thinking about 59 also, when I was 9 under through 14. You start to feel a bit of pressure when you start to think about a 59, but then you just need to concentrate on your game and try to do your best.”

Oliver Fisher, who shot 59 in the second round of the 2018 Portugal Masters en route to a T-7 finish, remains the only golfer to shoot a sub-60 round on the European Tour. On the PGA Tour, a sub-60 round has been shot 12 times, with a 58 by Jim Furyk in the final round of the 2016 Travelers Championship – he finished T-5 – as the all-time best.

Spain’s Scott Fernandez, playing one group behind Laporte, birdied his final four holes to shoot 62 and stay within one stroke of the lead. Spaniards Adri Arnaus and Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, who are looking for their first victories on the European Tour, shot 63s to tie for third place with France’s Joel Stalter.

Julian Suri was the low-scoring American, at 66, and stood tied for 16th. South Africa's Dean Burmester, who won the Tenerife Open last week on the same course, shot 68. Ninety-two of the 131 players who started broke par. (For first-round scores, click here.)

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