Thomas Norret has not been enjoying a happy time on the Challenge Tour this year, but he found his form on the opening day of the Beazer homes Challenge Tour Championship at the splendid Bowood Golf and Country Club. The 26-year-old Dane carded a five-under-par 67 to lead by one from Tobias Dier of Germany and Frenchman Gregory Havret.
Norret, who finished 25th on the Challenge Tour Rankings last year and came close to winning on several occasions, has not been among the front-runner this year.
"I have played quite well but I haven't scored well," he said. "I have lost confidence but it was much better today and I got off to a great start. I was five under after six holes and I just kept it going from there."
Out in the morning, the Dane couldn't have made a better start. He birdied the third hole, eagled the fourth and followed up birdies at the next two holes. Unfortunately, two bogeys saw him out in 33 but further birdies at the 10th and 13th in an inward 34 brought him home in 67.
Among those on 69 is England's Jonathan Herbert who was going to play in an event in Blackburn but when he learned he had a place at Bowood, returned home to Leicestershire then motored to Wiltshire where he found his journey had been necessary.
He came with a borrowed driver after his own had been stolen in a break-in at the Hinckley golf Club pro shop. But the replacement served him well and but for a cold putter would have finished closer to Norret.
Joining Herbert on 69 are Stuart Little, who lives just a few miles away in Gloucestershire, Kent's Bryan Ingleby, and Raife Hutt from Lancashire.
On a day which was generally sunny but which brought heavy showers late in the afternoon, 47 players beat par. The shot of the day came from Lancastrian Paul Dwyer who holed his tee shot at the 170 metre 12th hole for an ace.