Persistent rain brought a premature end to play on the opening day of the Credit Suisse Private Banking Open in Switzerland. Only half the field of 156, including Italy’s Marco Bernardini with 66, managed to complete their rounds before the Patriziale course became unplayable.
Continual rain from daybreak eventually forced Tournament Director Niccolo Nesti to suspend play at 3pm and to call it off for the day two hours later. The first round will resume at 7am on Friday with the second round scheduled for 10.30am. But the forecast is not good.
Of those who managed to get round in the morning, Bernardini’s five under par 66 was a brilliant effort in the conditions. He leads by two from another Italian, Stefano Soffietti, and by three from two Swedes, Martin Erlandsson and Peter Malmgren, Brian Akstrup from Denmark, England’s Michael Archer, Peter Lawrie from Ireland, and Scotland’s Greig Hutcheon, the defending champion.
Bernardini, who will celebrate his 24th birthday next Monday, made a poor start with a bogey at the first hole but that was his only blemish. He ran in three birdies to be out in 34, then reeled off three in a row from the 10th to be home in 32.
After signing his card, Bernardini said: “I am astounded. I don’t like playing in the rain and this is my best score in these conditions. I never expected to shoot such a good round but I putted very well.”
Soffietti, 24, opened with two birdies in his first three holes from the 10th and covered each nine in 34 strokes.
Erlandsson was not on the leaderboard after going out from the 10th in 37. But he roared home in 32 with birdies at his closing four holes.
Malmgren, another starter from the 10th, also made his score on his back nine with four birdies in a homeward 33.
After his second place in Morocco and a missed cut by a stroke in Italy last week, Lawrie found six birdies in his 69, while Archer was progressing well despite a troublesome hip. He led on four under at the turn after an eagle and two birdies, but he suffered two bogeys coming home.
Hutcheon, who won the title so well over the same course a year ago, was another to stage a late rally. Out from the 10th in one over 36, he dropped another shot at the third but birdied four of his closing six holes for his 69.
Among those on 70 is the leading Swiss, Marcus Knight, and Moroccan, Younes El Hassani, while England’s Simon Wakefield, the winner in Italy last week, signed for 71.