DORSET’S Lee James remained upbeat despite a poor finish to the opening round of the Challenge Tour’s Grand Final in Italy today.

James, who is currently 26th on the order of merit, carded a two-over-par 73 for a share of 21st place in the season’s final competition at San Domenico Golf in Puglia.

“I played well, but dropped four shots in the last five holes – three of them straight into the gale force wind,” explained the Broadstone player, who must climb six places to regain his top-flight status.

“I also three putted the last, otherwise my game’s in good shape,” he added.

There is no cut this week with the top 45 players competing for the 20 European Tour cards up for grabs on Saturday night.

Welshman Sion Bebb is the first-round leader on three-under-par – one of only eight players to shoot red figures.