Swedes Mattias Nilsson and Johan Skold share the lead on 64 after the first round of the Terme Euganee International Open Padova in Italy. They are a stroke clear of four players including another Swede, Eric Carlberg, and Italians Stefano Reale and Alberto Binaghi.
But the highlight of the opening day was a hole-in-one, his first on the Challenge Tour, by England’s Simon Hurley, which enabled him to join the second-placed quartet on 65.
Hurley's ace was achieved with a six iron at the 180-yard 12th hole, and still pumped up, he added a second consecutive eagle at the long 13th. That left him on eight under and he would have finished alongside the two Swedes at the top of the leaderboard but for a bogey at the 18th.
Nevertheless, such a start to the penultimate tournament on this season's Challenge Tour was just what Hurley needed. With only the Grand Final to come in a fortnight involving the leading 45 players, he is currently 45th on the Order of Merit.
After play had been delayed for 25 minutes by early morning mist, conditions were ideal and Nilsson and Skold, both out in the afternoon, were in top form. Nilsson, currently 38th on the rankings, started from the 10th tee and bagged four birdies on each half for his 64.
Skold, ranked 43rd, had a more mixed round and like him compatriot, covered each nine in 32 strokes. However, he made his score with eagles at the 8th and 10th as well as five birdies.
Carlberg, who has had a poor season and is currently 125th, was out in the morning and carded seven birdies in his 65, while Reale, younger brother of European Tour player Michele Reale, had an eagle and six birdies in his return.
Fellow Italian Binaghi, a morning starter on the 10th, kept a bogey off his card as he went out in 32 and returned in 33 with a haul of seven birdies.
Two more Swedes, Bjorn Pettersson and Tony Edlund, plus three Englishmen, Gary Clark, Philip Golding, and Simon Khan are two strokes off the lead on 66.