Italy’s Massimo Florioli and Sweden’s Peter Gustafsson put together wonderful opening rounds of eight under par 64 to take a one shot lead at the Segura Viudas Challenge de España after a day of sensational scoring from the European Challenge Tour Members at Torremirona Golf Club, near Girona.
The key to Florioli’s round was a superb run of five consecutive birdies that helped the Italian out score Frenchman Renaud Guillard and the Swede, Johan Skold, by a single shot.
For Florioli, it was one of those days where it just all went right on the course. The 32 year old, who has two career victories on the Challenge Tour saw his game click into place at the 6,780 yard par 72 Torremirona venue.
“I am very happy,” said Florioli. “I played well today and was very comfortable on the course the whole way round. My putting was very good, especially from long distance – my judgement from five or six metres was spot on and I read the greens very well.
“Also, I played confidently from tee to green as you can see from the fact that I had no bogeys on the card.
“My run from the second to the sixth, where I made five birdies in a row, was the key to my round. After I made my birdie putt on the sixth green I thought to myself that I had a really good chance of putting a great score together and I am happy that I did so.”
Gustafsson, who now lives in Spain, drove the ball magnificently during his first round, and putted even better. No dropped shots and putts from 25 feet as well as two 15 foot birdie attempts helped the 28 year old get to eight under.
“I played well today and holed some really nice birdie putts,” said Gustafsson. “It feels great to be playing in Spain – I absolutely love this country, that’s why I live here! The climate is great and the people are fantastic and I have always enjoyed playing golf in Spain.”
The top four players all contributed to a day of exceptional scoring, and, with five players are just one shot behind Guillard and Skold on six under, and a further 11 just two shots behind the second placed duo, it is clear that there will be a supreme battle for the €21,600 top prize at Torremirona.
Guillard and Skold almost matched the magical 64s of Florioli and Gustafsson, but were content with first rounds of 65. Guillard did not drop a single shot while Skold bogeyed the eighth but picked up an eagle three at the par five fourth.
Current Challenge Tour Number One Leif Westerberg of Sweden, who leads the Rankings with €41,862, got himself into contention with an excellent 66, and joins the group of five players on six under par.
“I played very well and gave myself a lot of chances out there, and managed to make quite a few,” said Westerberg. “I don’t drive the ball too far, but I am hitting the ball very straight at the moment and it's giving me the chance to make birdies.
“It was good to make eagle on the sixth, and I only dropped one shot which is encouraging. I have had a good season so far and am continuing to play well, which is encouraging in terms of staying at the top end of the Rankings.”
Finally, Torremirona’s resident professional, Steven Scott, secured himself an endless supply of Cava Champagne from tournament sponsors and makers of Cava, Segura Viduas, after his hole in one at the par three tenth hole.
Scott, who started his round at the tenth, got off to the perfect start by firing a pin point pitching wedge 130 metres and into the hole.