Cadiz, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Jack Doherty carded a 3-under 69 on Thursday to claim the lead of the NH Collection Open before play was suspended for darkness.
The start of the first round was delayed for two hours, 40 minutes due to heavy rain, causing the eventual suspension.
"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 game plan."
Bradley Dredge was also able to finish his opening round at La Reserva de Sotogrande Club de Golf and carded a 2-under 70 to sit among a group of four players tied for second place.
Rhys Davies, Tjaart van der Walt and Joakim Lagergren were also at 2-under, but still on the course. Davies was through 12 holes, van der Walt was done eight and Lagergren had finished seven when play was halted.
Adrian Otaegui, Lorenzo Gagli, David Howell, David Horsey and Mikko Korhonen all shot 1-under 71 to share sixth place with 10 others who will need to finish their rounds when play resumes at 3:00 a.m. ET Friday.
Trophee Hassan II winner Alejandro Canizares was among a group of 11 players to card an even-par 72.
Doherty set the clubhouse mark during the early wave, as the Scot started on the back nine and followed an opening par with a bogey at the 11th.
He got that stroke back with a birdie at the 13th, and added gains at the 15th and 18th to make the turn at 2-under.
After trading an birdie at the fourth with a bogey at the fifth to remain there, Doherty posted birdies at the seventh and ninth around a bogey at the eighth to claim the lead at 3-under.
"The course is lovely, it's my first time here and I enjoyed it. I like the way it sets up and it's in good condition," said Doherty. "Considering we had lots of rain yesterday and last night, the course has held up nicely and the greens are fast, especially downwind."
Dredge parred his first four holes before rolling in two birdies in a three- hole stretch from the fifth to reach 2-under.
He would par his next five holes before dropping a shot at the 13th. He pulled back within a shot of the lead with a birdie at the 18th.
Davies countered three bogeys with an eagle and three birdies to earn his share of second place, while Lagergren also had an up-and-down day with a pair of bogeys and four birdies through his seven holes.
Van der Walt posted birdies at the 10th, his first, and 17th to claim his share of second place.
NOTES: Doherty earned his European Tour card through Q-School last November in his 12th attempt ... Doherty has made just one cut in six starts this season, tying for 63rd place at the Tshwane Open ... Simon Dyson withdrew during the first round ... No one from the late wave was able to finish their first round before the suspension.