Crans Montana: France’s Gregory Bourdy withstood testing conditions to take the opening round lead with a flawless eight-under-par 63 at the Omega European Masters on Thursday.
Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson Hed returned with a 65 to take second place alongside England’s Oliver Fisher while India’s Anirban Lahiri and Australia’s Scott Barr are among the four players bunched in fourth place at the €2.1million showpiece which is the first event in Europe to be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour since 2009.
Bourdy opened with a birdie par-four 10th. He continued to birdie the 15th and 17th hole to turn in 32.
After further birdies on the first and second holes, the Frenchman then broke clear when he carded his sixth birdie at the fifth hole.
Bourdy picked up more red numbers at holes seven and eight to complete an eventful day at the picturesque Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.
“We’ve never had rain like this here before. It was raining even more than it did in Scotland last week!” said Bourdy.
“The forecast for the next couple of days is not great either, but there’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to deal with it, and I managed to do that very well today. I feel much warmer after a 63, that’s for sure,” added the Frenchman.
Meanwhile Lahiri passed his opening test at the Omega European Masters with flying colours.
With the cold and heavy rains pelting down, the two-time Asian Tour winner showed that he can play under all-weather conditions and is the man to watch for this week.
“This is definitely the best round that I had since I started playing here. I’ve come into this event not in the best of form and state of mind before but this year it has been a lot different. I’m very focused and confident,” said Lahiri, who has credited his Vipassna meditation for turning his performances around.
Lahiri’s career has been on the upswing this season, having enjoyed four top-10 finishes including his second Asian Tour win on home soil earlier in the year.
The Indian’s precocious talent did not go unnoticed when he finished tied 31st at the British Open and he is already proving that he can do no wrong with his flawless first round where he marked his card with five birdies.
“I putted really well on the front-nine as I holed everything that I looked at. I did hit a lot of shots off here and there but I’m glad I scrambled well and I’m happy that I didn’t drop a shot,” said Lahiri, who had earlier taken a share of the morning clubhouse lead with his 66.
Australia’s Scott Barr knows that he must continue to stay grounded as he continues to chase his long-awaited maiden victory on the Asian Tour.
The Singapore-based Australian almost got his career breakthrough in India earlier in February but was left disappointed on the final day.
“I’ve been playing well in patches this season and I had the chance to win earlier in the year which didn’t quite come off,” said Barr.
“It’s nice to play well but there’s still a long way to go. Hopefully I can get out there and play well again tomorrow,” added Barr.
Having put himself in a good position after the first round where he marked his card with seven birdies against two bogeys, Barr is hopeful that his good run will continue.
“I was struggling earlier on in the day as we don’t play in these sort of conditions in Asia. But once I started to putt well, I began to get my confidence going,” said Barr.
“I’ve been working very hard with my putting at home and that’s starting to pay dividends. Hopefully it’ll pay off at the end of the week,” added Barr.
Leading scores after round 1 of the Omega European Masters being played at the par 71, 6889 Yards Crans-sur-Sierre course (a- denotes amateur):
63 - Gregory BOURDY (FRA).
65 - Fredrik ANDERSSON HED (SWE), Oliver FISHER (ENG).
66 - Anirban LAHIRI (IND), Rhys DAVIES (WAL), Robert COLES (ENG), Scott BARR (AUS), David HOWELL (ENG).
67 - Markus BRIER (AUT), Niclas FASTH (SWE), Johan EDFORS (SWE), Sam LITTLE (ENG), Andrew DODT (AUS), Stephen GALLACHER (SCO), Danny WILLETT (ENG), Romain WATTEL (FRA).
68 - Marcus FRASER (AUS), Lee SLATTERY (ENG), Anders HANSEN (DEN), FELIPE AGUILAR (CHI), Julien QUESNE (FRA), Thomas LEVET (FRA), Graeme STORM (ENG), David DRYSDALE (SCO), Jose Manuel LARA (ESP), Bernd WIESBERGER (AUT), Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND), Marcel SIEM (GER), Berry HENSON (USA), Martin ROMINGER (SUI), Phillip PRICE (WAL), Victor DUBUISSON (FRA).
70 -Prom MEESAWAT (THA), David LIPSKY (USA)
71 - Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA), Angelo QUE (PHI), Mardan MAMAT (SIN), SIDDIKUR (BAN), Scott HEND (AUS), Peter KARMIS (RSA), S.S.P. CHOWRASIA (IND), Himmat RAI (IND).
By Indian Sports News Network