Austria’s Martin Wiegele is the first round leader of the fog-delayed doc Salbe PGA European Challenge after he fired an eight under par round of 64, to finish one shot ahead of Scotland's Scott Henderson, two shots ahead of compatriot Niki Zitny and Scotland’s Peter Whiteford after their day one rounds at the New Course at the Golf and Vital Park Bad Waldsee in Germany.
Wiegele, currently 37th in The European Challenge Tour Rankings, said his golf from tee to green was very good, but crucially cited a hot putter across a host of ranges on the greens for his eight birdie haul and pleasing display.
“I won in Norway, the Lexus Open, one month and a half ago and have been playing nicely, but haven’t been getting the results I was expecting after the win,” he admitted. “But today was my best round of the year and I am feeling confident I can carry on to play this type of golf.
“Of course, I want to get into the top 20 of the Challenge Tour Rankings and get into The European Tour next year. I have three events to do it in, but of course, I would like to win here to help me. Hopefully, I will get in.”
Wiegele said the three hour delay to the opening round due to fog did not adversely affect his preparations, and it was the same for Zitny, Whiteford and also England’s Peter Baker.
The duo are the previous two consecutive Challenge Tour event winners, having captured The Dutch Futures at Golf Club Houtrak, Holland, and the A.G.F Allianz Côtes D’Armour Bretagne respectively in the past fortnight.
Whiteford, 26th in the Rankings, is also chasing hard for that all important top 20 finish come the season’s end, and he fired a six under par 66 in Germany to continue his recent good form.
Baker’s five under par 67 leaves the Wolverhampton-born former Ryder Cup player well-placed to pursue his third Challenge Tour victory of the season, and with it the automatic promotion to The European Tour in 2008 he is already set to claim given his 10th spot in the Rankings.
The field in Germany boasts 17 of the 21 champions from this year’s Challenge Tour schedule and a top prize of €22,400. The first round was stopped at 6.38pm in Germany due to bad light and those players needing to complete their rounds were due to resume at 8.30am on Friday morning. However, more fog ensured another three hour delay.
Henderson was among those players who endured a frustrating wait, but stayed patient and returned to the course to finish shooting his best Challenge Tour round. He had four birdies, two eagles and just the one dropped shot in his 65.