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Thursday, 22 May 2003
Two Swedes, Johan Edfors and Peter Hanson, head the field after the first round of the Fortis Challenge Open at a wet and windy Burggolf Purmerend near Amsterdam.

The duo carded five under par 67s to edge a shot ahead of French rookie Raphael Pellicioli and two clear of the rest of the field.

Both Edfors and Hanson were out in the afternoon when conditions were slightly easier and it was the former who set the target with seven birdies in his 67. He was level par after seven holes but then launch a fusillade of birdies to hit the front of the field.

Edfors, winner of the Stanbic Zambia Open in March, carded five in six holes around the turn, four in a row from the eighth, while another at the short 16th saw him home in 33.

The 27 year old from Gothenburg didn’t have to wait long before he was joined in top spot by Hanson, who had an eagle and five birdies in his 67.

Pellicioli, who capped a successful amateur career by becoming European champion last year, was in the third match out in the morning from the tenth tee and made an immediate impact with a birdie.

However, he gave it back at the next hole and it wasn’t until after he turned in 36 that he set about putting himself at the top of the leaderboard.

Three birdies in a row from the third underlined his talent, while he picked up another shot at the par four eighth to sign for a 68.

Ten players share fourth place on 69 including three Englishmen, Gary Clark, Stuart Little and Mark Sanders, and New Zealand left-hander Gareth Paddison.

Another Swede, Markus Westerberg, is also on 69 but he might have joined his compatriots at the top after getting to five under with three to play. But he ran into trouble on the 16th, running up a double bogey five to drop back into the pack.

Only ten players returned sub-70 rounds and just 31 bettered par in the condition and on a tricky course with its many water hazards.

Scotland’s Scott Drummond, current leader of the Challenge Tour Rankings, is among a large group on 73, while former European Tour regulars Mark Davis and Roger Winchester both went round in 75.

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