Published: Oct 20, 2011 1:42 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 21, 2011 6:30 AM EDT

CATELLON, Spain (AP) - English golfer Ross McGowan shot a 7-under 64 to take a two-shot lead after the opening round of the Castello Masters on Thursday.

McGowan, ranked No. 543, holed his approach to the par-4 No. 17 for an eagle and made five birdies in a faultless round that left him two ahead of Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti and England's Richard McEvoy.

"It's nice to be playing well again and up in contention. I'm just trying to play each shot at a time and put up a good result at the end of the week," said McGowan, who carded a 64 to lead the Madrid Masters two weeks ago before falling out of contention.

Hometown favorite Sergio Garcia heads a string of players on 4 under including Northern Ireland golfer Michael Hoey, making his first appearance since winning the Dunhill Links title.

The 31-year-old Garcia, searching for his first European Tour win in almost three years, rounded the turn at 1 over before sinking five birdies on the back nine.

"It was a slow start, but ... then I got going," he said.

Defending champion Matteo Manassero raced to five straight birdies at the start of his round, but a double-bogey 6 at No.15 slowed him down and he finished with a 2-under 69.

Tom Lewis, last week's Portugal Masters champion, recovered from a poor start and finished with a par 71.

American golfer Anthony Kang shot a 1-under 70, while two-time major winner John Daly finished with a 2-over 73.