“Got off to a good start on the back nine and then on 15 I had a bit of magic from about 75 yards. It’s always nice when you can hole it from the fairway and that kick-started the momentum. On the par-five 17th I hit driver, two-iron to about 10 feet and made the putt, so I was flying at that stage,” he said.
The three-time European Tour winner shared 12th in Portugal last year after the tournament was reduced to 36 holes, and this time around he looked set to contend once again after he finsihed the first round on six-under-par.
“I played solid and I’m very happy with the start, because we’ve got a long tournament ahead of us. I had a good start last year and then the tournament was reduced to 36 holes, so that stay in the back of your mind,” he said.
Aiken’s wife Kate caddied for him when he won the 2014 Africa Open. They have teamed up on the course once again this week and it worked as the Aikens closed out the first 18 just one shot behind leaders Andy Sullivan and Nicolas Colsaerts.
“It’s a lot of fun and nice to have her (Kate) on the bag,” said Aiken. “We make the most of it and have a good time on the golf course. She’s been a star for the golf tournaments she has caddied.”
Trevor Fisher Jnr played his way to a share of seventh on five-under-par after starting the day on a hot streak. The reigning Africa Open champ was excited to be in the mix during his maiden season on the European Tour.
“I got off to a nice relaxed start and it’s always nice to get going like that. The course is in good nick and it’s playing well, so keeping it in play is important.
“The game feels alright and we’ll see what tomorrow holds for us. I’m learning all the time and the guys are good out here. You’re under pressure to play well, so you have to handle yourself right out here and remain professional about the task at hand,” he said.