Blaze hero Jarmo Sandelin stole the show in the Spanish Open despite a stunning nine-under 63 by Soren Hansen.

Ryder Cup star Hansen bounced back from a double bogey at the first with five front nine birdies and then stormed home in six-under par 30 to set a course record that gave him a one-shot lead over Thomas Levet at PGA Golf de Catalunya near Girona.

But the big protagonist of the day was giant Swede Sandelin, who hit a superb 66 just a few days after heroically saving an 77 year old woman from a blaze that broke out in his apartment block in Stockholm.

According to Swedish newspaper reports, 41-year old Sandelin battered down a door with a fire extinguisher and plucked the woman from the burning building after evacuating his wife Linda and family from their own apartment.

He was unable to save the woman's husband and was still shaken after completing a six under par 66 that left him just three shots off the pace.

Sandelin said: "My family and I could have lost our lives so I am still in shock. I would prefer not to talk about it at the moment. It's hard but I'm trying to block things off so I can play golf."

Defending champion Peter Lawrie was not in the least bit miffed that he was ignored by the press and the tournament sponsors in the tournament build up as opened with a 68 that left him nicely placed in joint 12th.

"If that is the way they want it, that is the way they want it," Lawrie said of the apathy surrounding his defence. "I thought coming here I would have a lot of press to deal with but I haven't had any, which is great. I thrive on being under the radar."

Lawrie birdied the first, second and fourth and then bounced back from a bogey at the short fifth with birdies at the seventh and eighth to turn in 32. 

He picked up another shot at the par five 15th to get to five-under par but was forced to hack out of deep rough down the right at the last and two putted for a bogey.

"I played lovely and even though I hit a few bad shots my short game saved me," he said. "Unfortunately, I bogeyed the last. It doesn't leave too much of a sour taste. I played nicely today and I'm happy with four under par."

Paul McGinley got to three-under par with six holes to play but after bravely saving his par five with a 20 footer at the 15th, he also bogeyed the last and signed for a two-under par 70 that left him tied with Q-School graduate Jonny Caldwell, Damien McGrane and Gary Murphy.

Returning to the course where he earned his card last year, recently crowned Portuguese Open champion Michael Hoey signed for a disappointing 77 that left him near the back of the field.

The Ulsterman, 30, was five-over par through 10 holes but followed birdies at the 12th and 14th with bogeys at the 16th and 17th.