Argentine Vancsik powers to lead in Madrid

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MADRID, Oct 12 (Reuters) Big-hitting Argentine Daniel Vancsik notched his best score since March in taking the Madrid Open first round lead with a seven-under 65.

Vancsik ran up an eagle and six birdies in the first round with some booming drives, to lead Portugal's Jose-Filipe Lima by a stroke yesterday.

Germany's Martin Kaymer and Briton Steven O'Hara are two shots behind.

The 30-year-old leader credited a new driver with his first visit to a European Tour leaderboard since winning the Madeira Islands Open seven months ago.

''I hit the ball really well off the tee, sometimes 330, 340 yards and the wind was really tough at times,'' Vancsik told Reuters.

''I'm getting at least 10 yards further with the new driver and I only missed two fairways as well.

''I've been making too many changes since Madeira but this has proved a good one.'' Lima has failed to add to his 2004 St Omer Open success and was finding tournaments a real drag until deciding on a switch that may prove as important as Vancsik's driver-change.

''I decided to stop smoking seven months ago and get fitter,'' Lima told Reuters, ''but it didn't do me much good. So I started again and in the last four weeks I've got better and better.

''Maybe I'll give up the cigarettes again on Sunday if I win.'' Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, 18 and a tournament favourite despite playing in only his third European Tour event as a professional, had a modest 73 without a birdie on his card to lie eight strokes off the lead.

McIlroy and Kaymer played in the afternoon when the gusting wind was at its strongest.

REUTERS BJR HS1017

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