Zimbabwe’s Marc Cayeux won his battle with the flu during the first round of the Open de Toulouse to card a seven under par 65 to take a one shot lead from a four strong group of his European Challenge Tour colleagues.
The 26 year old – already a winner on the 2004 Challenge Tour Schedule following his victory in the Kenya Open – put together eight birdies and just one dropped shot at the 6801 yard par 72 Golf de Toulouse-Palmola to lead by one from Sweden’s Johan Axgren, Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, Carlos de Corral of Spain and the Englishman Graeme Storm.
Cayeux got his round of to a great start with two birdies, holing a lovely 20 foot putt on the 11th before chipping to two feet on the 12th for a tap-in three. He continued in that vein throughout the day and holed some beautiful birdie putts from 20 feet on both the 18th and the third before sinking a monster putt on the fourth from over 40 feet.
His only mistake of the day came on the tricky par three seventh green where he three putted, but compensated that dropped shot with a further two birdies to take the early lead from Axgren, Bourdy, de Corral and Storm.
“I didn’t expect too much from myself this week to be honest with you because I have had the flu so I haven’t really played or practiced that much,” said a delighted Cayeux after signing for 65.
“I’ve been felling a bit run down and have generally just not been one hundred per cent because of that, but I went out today and played nicely.
“That’s the way it goes with this game though – you go out with high expectations and then you don’t perform, but when you don’t think that it is going to go well for you, you find yourself finding some form.
“I like the course here in Toulouse. There are a lot of tough holes out there and the greens actually remind of the surfaces that I grew up putting on back in Zimbabwe. They are probably a little bit slower than we have been used to on the Challenge Tour this year, but they suited me today. I made quite a few nice birdies putts from 20 feet and more so it was easy for me to enjoy them!
“I’ll be going out there tomorrow morning looking for more of the same but I will not know what to expect because of this flu. I am out early tomorrow and it has been affecting me more in the mornings so I’ll have to get up about five am to make sure I feel alright by the time we tee off!”
Scotland’s Graham Gordon and Italy’s Stefano Reale share sixth place on five under par, with a further five players bunched together on four under after an excellent opening days play in France.