Carlos Del Moral and Julio Zapata ignored a six hour weather delay to produce an electric first round display at the European Challenge Tour’s Credit Suisse Challenge at Wylihof Golf Club.
The Spaniard and Argentine carded excellent first round scores of eight under par 65 to take a two stroke clubhouse lead from Scotland’s Andrew McArthur after an opening day blighted by torrential rainfall that wiped out the morning schedule of play.
That meant a delay of six hours for every man in the field, but it did nothing to dampen the spirits of Del Moral and Zapata, who took advantage of the soft conditions to storm into the lead.
With play suspended on Friday night due to fading light, the Challenge Tour players still to complete their first rounds – 78 of the 156 man field – returned to Wylihof to finish what they had started on Thursday evening.
Despite a further delay of two and a half hours on Friday morning, Denmark’s Chrsitopher Lange leapfrogged McArthur into second place with a fine seven under par 66, while England’s Robert Dinwiddie joined McArthur on six under in a tie for fourth place.
Del Moral showed the kind of form that took him to his maiden Challenge Tour victory at the Texbond Open last season, picking up and eagle and six birdies to set the clubhouse mark.
The 21 year old from Valencia has struggled with his game since winning in Italy last year, but a recent change of attitude towards his preparation for tournaments, inspired by his coach, Pedro Contreras, has restored the faith in his ability and given him hope that he can start climbing the Challenge Tour Rankings.
“I wasn’t affected by the delay today,” said Del Moral. “I just hit the ball better than I have done for a long time because I have been struggling all year with my game.
“The main change is that I have started to practice a lot harder than I ever have before, and it is paying off for me. It was my coach who told me that I have to work harder, and it is starting to come together for me.”
Zapata has been playing consistently well all season, with four top ten finishes and a 16th place at last week’s dual ranking OPEN DE SAINT-OMER presented by NUEFLIZE OBC 2007 helping him to 12th place on the current Challenge Tour Rankings.
The 30 year old Argentine had just 26 putts during his first round that included an eagle, six birdies and just a single dropped shot.
“I played well and putted very well today,” said Zapata. “I holed a lot of putts from between five and seven metres today and that made a difference to my score. I like this golf course and it seemed to suit my game and I am pleased with a 65.”
After this morning’s delay, round two will be completed on Saturday morning before the commencement of round three.
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