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No pain in rain for Doherty as he sets pace in Spain

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Jack Doherty of Scotland hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during day one of the NH Collection Open held at La Reserva de Sotogrande Club de Golf on April 3, 2014 in Cadiz, Spain.  Picture: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images.

Jack Doherty of Scotland hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during day one of the NH Collection Open held at La Reserva de Sotogrande Club de Golf on April 3, 2014 in Cadiz, Spain. Picture: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images.

Jack Doherty of Scotland hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during day one of the NH Collection Open held at La Reserva de Sotogrande Club de Golf on April 3, 2014 in Cadiz, Spain. Picture: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images.

SCOTLAND'S Jack Doherty claimed the clubhouse lead on a weather-affected first day of the inaugural NH Collection Open at La Reserva de Sotogrande.

After play had been delayed by more than two hours because of heavy rain, Doherty overcame strong winds to card a three-under-par 69 to lead by one from Welshman Bradley Dredge.

Doherty came through the European Tour qualifying school in November at the 12th attempt, but has only made one cut so far this season, finishing joint 63rd in the Tshwane Open.

The 31-year-old carded six birdies and three bogeys to top the leaderboard, with two-time Tour winner Dredge shooting three birdies and just one bogey.

"It was a tough day," Doherty said. "We had a 20-yard wind on the front nine and almost 30 yards on the back nine, which is a lot. The ball is going a long way downwind and it's hardly going anywhere into the wind, but I practice on the west coast of Scotland which is normally quite windy, so I know how to play it and I just stuck to my plan.

"Considering we had lots of rain yesterday and last night, the course has held up nicely and the greens are fast, especially downwind."

Spain's Alejandro Canizares, who is looking for back-to-back wins following his victory in Morocco last month, had to settle for an opening 72 after a round containing three birdies, one bogey and a double bogey.

The rain delay meant half the field were unable to complete their first rounds yesterday, with play scheduled to resume this morning.

Doherty's lead remained intact, although Welshman Rhys Davies had reached two under par after 12 holes and South African Tjaart van der Walt was on the same mark early in their rounds. Of the Irish, Damien McGrane and Simon finished their rounds posting 74s whilst Kevin Phelan was one shot worse off.


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