Molinari sets early Seville pace
Italian Francesco Molinari set the early clubhouse target when the Reale Seguros Spanish Open began in wet and windy Seville on Thursday.
The younger of the two brothers who were part of Europe's side at the last Ryder Cup, Molinari opened with a two-under-par 70 - and that included three-putting from only seven feet for bogey on his penultimate hole.
The 29-year-old, currently ranked 46th in the world, had also dropped a shot on the short 11th - his second - but in between came four birdies, three of them on par fives.
Also two under, but still out on the course, were German Marcel Siem, England's Chris Wood and Frenchman Benjamin Hebert.
Only nine players were under par as the second half of the field teed off and they included England's James Morrison, who two years ago lost a play-off to Spaniard Alvaro Quiros at the same venue.
He stood one under with five to play, while big-hitting Quiros, hoping to mark the centenary of the championship with another home victory, had to settle for a one-over 73.
Former Open champion Paul Lawrie, with a chance to go second on the Ryder Cup points table, could do no better than 76. It might have been worse - he found the water on his final hole, the long ninth, but got down in a pitch and putt for par.
Course designer Jose Maria Olazabal, Europe's Ryder Cup captain this year and playing with Lawrie, had a 75, but Ross Fisher, a team-mate of the Molinaris at Celtic Manor, bogeyed the first four holes and then had a triple bogey eight to be seven over after only five.
Fisher did settle after that to be six over with four to go, but it was more disappointment for a player whose world ranking has slumped from 17th to 131st in the last two-and-a-half years.
Wood matched Fisher's eight on the 514-yard fifth, but finished with a birdie to post a level-par 72 that was good enough for a share of 12th place.
Siem bogeyed the last for a 71, but Molinari still had company at the top -
Hebert remained two under with three to go while Spaniard Alejandro Canizares birdied two of the first four holes to make it a three-way tie.
Lawrie's round was even worse than first thought. He had taken eight and not six on the 15th, so signed for a six-over 78 - the same as Fisher.
Molinari was relegated to third place when 19-year-old compatriot Matteo Manassero had an eagle, two birdies and a bogey in the first six holes and England's Sam Hutsby birdied three of the first six holes on the back nine.
Miguel Angel Jimenez was off to a poor start, though. Bogeys at the first,
second and short seventh left him six behind.