England’s Brett Taylor, who has made only one cut in eight tournaments on this year’s Mastercard Tour, and John Edfors from Sweden, carded three-under-par 67s to share the lead after an horrendous opening day of the Formby Hall Challenge. They are a shot clear of three more Englishmen, Robert McGuirk, Simon Khan and Charlie Challen and Welshman Liam Bond.
Taylor had four birdies in his 67, which was a magnificent effort on a day of almost continual rain and blustery winds. A morning starter from the 10th tee, he was out in level-par 36 but came home in 31, three of his birdies coming at short holes.
“It was horrendous out there,” said Taylor. “It was just non-stop wind and rain but fortunately I’ve got a caddie this week which was a massive help in these conditions.”
Taylor looked as if he would lead on his own but Edfors, in one of the final matches out, matched him with a 67 that contained five birdies.
“I haven’t had a very good season but I played well today despite the weather,” he said. “I didn’t have a caddie but I managed somehow.”
Challen was an early starter and posted the target with 68 until Taylor’s effort. Bond and McGuirk were out in the afternoon when the rain became so intense that play was suspended for 45 minutes when a few greens became waterlogged.
At one stage it looked as if the round would not be completed but fortunately the downpour relented and all matches finished before dark.
Among the final groups Irishman Paddy Gribben was penalised four shots for breaching the one-ball rule. He changed his ball on the 17th tee but the replacement was not the same as those he had been playing with. The penalty shots meant he returned 79.