Reigning Spanish Open champ Molinari two behind trio of leaders wire reports

VALENCIA, Spain -- Chile's Felipe Aguilar led the Spanish Open in a three-way tie with Morten Madsen and Gary Stal after they all went 4-under 68 through the first round on Thursday.

Aguilar made six birdies to go with two bogeys on the Parador de El Saler course. Stal, of France, didn't shoot worse than par, while Denmark's Madsen dropped only one bogey on the day.

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"This course is playing very nicely, especially in the morning with very little wind," said Aguilar. "The conditions are absolutely fantastic. It's a very difficult golf course if you miss the fairways off the tee, as long as you keep it on the fairway off the tee you get pretty good chances.

"Four under is a good score anywhere, so I'm quite happy with it."

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano was in a group of eight golfers at one stroke back.

Local favorite Sergio Garcia hit a double bogey on the par-3 4th hole and ended the round on par, while a triple bogey on the par-4 10th hole left defending champion Francesco Molinari of Italy at 3 over.

Veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez shot 4-over 76 on his return to the greens after breaking his right leg last December while skiing.

"I feel good, even though I noticed the lack of competition," said the 49-year-old Jimenez. "I'm happy to be here. The knee is holding up well. It isn't completely stable and I have to put on some muscle, but I can't blame the injury. More than anything it's mental."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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