Friday, 19 March 2010

Spain’s Juan Parron made a remarkable recovery from narrowly avoiding disqualification at the European Challenge Tour’s Credit Suisse Challenge to put together a wonderful opening round of nine under par 64 and take a one stroke lead over Englishman Tim Milford at the Wylihof Golf Club in Switzerland.

Standing on the first tee waiting to start his bid to secure his maiden Challenge Tour victory, Parron realised he was on the wrong tee. With seconds to spare, the 23 year old produced a burst of speed not usually associated with a professional golfer to make the 100 metre dash to the tenth and avoid instant disqualification.

Parron understandably opened his round with a bogey, given the drama that befell him moments before teeing off, but he soon banished any negative thoughts surrounding his first round by before embarking on a birdie rampage that saw him reset the course record at the 7202 yard, par 73 Wylihof Golf Club.

His birdie at the 11th refocused his energies towards maintaining the excellent form that saw him finish fourth at last week’s Aa St Omer Open in France, and from there he never looked back – picking up birdies at the 15th, 16th and 18th to ‘turn’ in three under par before taking the front nine apart with a master class of iron play.

Parron planted a six iron to five feet for birdie at the second, an eight iron to three feet at the third and then a two iron from 220 metres to ten feet for eagle at the 12th. Closing birdies at the fifth and eighth ensured Parron’s nine under par start, and handed him the new course record, beating Raphaël de Sousa of Switzerland’s previous best of 65 by two strokes.

Parron, who moved to fourth place on the Challenge Tour Rankings after his fourth place finish in St Omer, said: “I didn’t know I could run that fast until this morning! I realised I was on the wrong tee and sprinted over to the tenth just in time, but my mind was all over the place and I just rushed onto the tee and hit my shot. I didn’t think about it too much and that’s why I made the bogey.

“I think today was just a continuation from St Omer. I am fourth in the Rankings after last week and have a lot of confidence at the moment. I don’t like to think too far ahead and in my mind I just take everything shot by shot, but I think I could get my European Tour card this season and that is something I did not expect at the start of this season because it is my first full season on the Challenge Tour.”

Milford’s opening 65 was a model round of golf, comprising eight birdies, ten pars and not a hint of trouble. The 38 year old Englishman is two strokes clear of Sebastian Fernandez and Gustavo Rojas of Argentina, with Germany’s Kariem Baraka, Marco Crespi of Italy, England’s Chris Gane and Simon D Hurley, Denmark’s Soren Juul Hansen, Panu Kylliänen of Finland and another Italian, Andrea Maestroni, tied together on five under par.

Markus Knight, Nicolas Sulzer and Martin Rominger are the leading Swiss players in the field on three under.

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Tournament Leaderboard

PosPlayer NameNatHolePar
T1CEA, FranciscoESP18-16
T3DAVIES, GarethENG18-15
5HEATH, JamesENG18-14
T6ARRUTI, Jesus MariaESP18-13
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