Pasi Purhonen from Finland is the surprise leader after the first round of the NCC Open at Soderasens in Sweden. The 25 year old from Helsinki carded a four-under-par 67 to lead by a shot from Swedish trio Adam Mednick, Victor Gustavsson and Fredrik Mansson.
Purhonen, a professional for four years, has never finished better than 22nd in any Challenge Tour event, but he is the reigning Finnish PGA champion and has won twice on the Finnish Audi Tour.
He was out early in the rain from the 10th tee and made his score going out. He reached the turn in 33 with birdies at the 10th, 11th, and 16th and went four under with another at the first. Two more birdies were cancelled by two bogeys in the remaining holes but his 67 was still good enough to keep him at the top of the leaderboard throughout the rest of the day.
Mednick, who has featured in most Challenge Tour events this season, had five birdies and two bogeys in his 68, while Gustavsson didn’t drop a shot while bagging three birdies.
Manasson matched Purhonen’s birdie haul with six but also found three bogeys in his 68.
On a leaderboard dominated by Scandinavian players, six more Swedes are in joint fifth place on 69 alongside two Englishmen, Philip Archer and Simon Wakefield.
Scotland’s Roger Beames must have felt he would be on the leaderboard after starting from the 10th tee and covering the back nine in 32 shots to be four under par. But he gave them all back in an inward 39 for level-par 71 and equal 27th place.
With Sebastien Delagrange, last week’s winner of the Aa St Omer Open in France taking a week off, his nearest challenger, Jamie Donaldson from Wales attempted to take over where he left off. But he found the Soderasens course tricky and two birdies and two bogeys also left him on 71.
Current ranking leader, Andrew Sherborne finished on 72, while second placed Mark Foster went round in 73.