Perez takes 1-shot lead at Valderrama

SOTOGRANDE, Spain (AP) — Victor Perez leads defending champion Sergio García and four others by one stroke after the opening round of the Andalucía Valderrama Masters on Thursday.

The Frenchman hit five birdies over a flawless round for a 6-under 65.

“I’m very pleased to keep the card clean, it’s one of the toughest places to do it,” Perez said. “We had a really good game plan going in to take advantage of the softer conditions.”

Tournament host García is right behind Perez along with American Sihwan Kim, Swede Anton Karlsson, Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa, and Malaysian Gavin Green.

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García is seeking his fourth victory at Real Club Valderrama.

“I love this place, there is no doubt about that,” García said. “I hit the ball very well. It’s probably the best that I’ve felt in quite a while.”

Bezuidenhoot had a lively round — eight birdies and three bogeys.

Haydn Porteous of South Africa shot an albatross on the par-5 17th.

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