Atherstone's Paul Broadhurst took time out after equalling the course record of 64 at Le Meridien in the Portuguese Open to thank veteran Scottish coach Bob Torrance.

The defending champion's return to form in the first round coincided with a visit to Torrance last week.

He felt he needed good advice about his poor form after missing the halfway cuts in the TCL Classic and the Singapore Masters.

Broadhurst said: "Bob is certainly not into the modern day swing. He uses Ben Hogan as his case study and that is right for me.

"He is not over technical and it is more about feel.

"I am no good at trying to put the club in certain places.

"It has to be flowing and I have to understand what I am doing.

"I have to work with what I have got and as long as I stick to certain guidelines I am okay."

His secret in the opening round of eight-under-par? "I just stood up and smashed the driver," he admitted.

The result was a fine display in good weather, although he was tested at the last hole.

Broadhurst found the sand with his tee shot at the tricky ninth and hit his second to the side of the green. He then rolled a putt six feet past but kept his nerve to hole the return.

Broadhurst came home in 30 with the highlight a superb eagle three at the fifth.

He said: "I holed some good putts, which is a nice feeling. I feel I can win this event again.

"I have just set the target of playing under par for the next three days. If I can do that I will be pretty close."

Christian Nilsson looked set to equal the course record as well but the Swede, who came through qualifying school, bogeyed the last to finish one shot behind Broadhurst.

Nilsson said: "The first nine I played well and did not miss a shot but on the way back I finished up in the rough a couple of times. It is so thick in places you can drop shots easily from there.

"I am pleased with the round, though. I have had a bad start to the season, so I have to make a few cuts and get some money in the bank."

Former Open champion Paul Lawrie moved on the leaderboard with a 68, four-under-par. The highlight of Lawrie's round was an eagle three at the par-five tenth.

The Scot maintained the good form he showed in patches at the Madeira Island Open last week, when he had to settle for tied 28th in that tournament after making a bright start.

Trailing Broadhurst by six shots on the overnight leaderboard was his former Atherstone club-mate Steve Webster who was among a clutch of players on 70 which included John Bickerton, of Droitwich, and Ryder Cup captain Woosnam.

W oosnam's deputy, Peter Baker, of Tettenhall, could manage no better than level par alongside Birmingham's Tom White-house while David Park, of Hereford, was a stroke further back.

Robert Rock, the Armitage pro, playing out of The Belfry, was heading for a premature end to his weekend with a four-over-par 76.

A five-man team of sky divers temporarily brought play to a halt when they came down on the course.

The group took this emergency action at Le Meridien after one of their number had to use his reserve parachute.

They decided to follow him in and landed close to where Park, Scott Drummond and Robert Coles were playing.

The rogue member, meanwhile, finished off course but unhurt.

Tournament official Paul Carrigill said: "There was no real hold-up.

"The players had a look and got on with it. The parachutists were extremely apologetic.