Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera produced a sensational course record setting first round display of nine under par 62 to take control of the European Challenge Tour’s Apulia San Domenico Grand Final.
The 22 year old was in almighty form in what were near perfect conditions at the beautiful links of San Domeinco Golf on Italy’s Adriatic coast, posting ten birdies and just a single bogey en route to resetting the course record and storming into a three shot lead over Sweden’s Mikael Lundberg.
Current Challenge Tour Number Two Felipe Aguilar of Chile put together a brilliant back nine of five under par 32 to move into a share of third place alongside Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Austria’s Martin Wiegele on five under, with a further four players on four under and seven men, including Number One Ross McGowan of England, on three under.
Lorenzo-Vera, currently seventh on the Rankings, is already safe in terms of winning one of the 20 European Tour cards on offer through the final Rankings, but he would dearly love to record a maiden Challenge Tour win at this, the last event on the 2007 Schedule.
He still has an outside chance of toppling McGowan at the head of the Rankings, but has to win the €42,800 top prize and hope McGowan finishes outside the top 15 this week, as well as relying on the likes of Aguilar and third Ranked Swede Leif Westerberg not making enough money to out earn him.
The permutations are endless and ever changing for every player in the field, but for someone as laid back as Lorenzo-Vera, they are not worth thinking about.
“Whatever happens happens,” said the leader in his typically cool manner. “I have had a great season and I’m here to enjoy the week and play some good golf. I already have my card for The European Tour so I can come here and play without pressure and have some fun.
“Everything was going good today, the conditions were perfect and I just hope that they stay the same for the next three days because it was a lot of fun.
“I’m not too bothered about winning the Rankings. It would be nice, but the most important thing for me is to play well and start looking towards next season and playing on The European Tour. I am already preparing for that and I am happy with the ways things are going.”
Lorenzo-Vera’s words are more or less applicable to every one of the top ten players on the current Rankings.
With their places on The European Tour secure, the pressure will fall on those in and around 20th position as they jostle for the last remaining cards.
The first round left Peter Fowler, Robert Coles and Andrew McArthur, respectively Ranked 21st, 22nd and 23rd at the start of the week, sniffing blood as they look to break into the top 20. All three men posted opening scores of three under par or better, leaving them ahead of all four men in positions 16-20 and sensing an opportunity to land a fatal blow as the Challenge Tour season gears up for its nerve-shredding finale on Saturday afternoon.