Englishman Adam Gee stormed into the lead after the first round of the Lexus Open in Norway and admitted he hoped it was the start of a successful run to the end of his European Challenge Tour season.
The 27 year old Londoner carved an excellent course record eight under par 64 from the Moss & Rygge Golfklub in Dilling to take a two shot lead over the Scandinavian quintet of; Oskar Henningson of Sweden, Denmark’s Jeppe Huldahl, Finland’s Antti Ahokas and two of the most exciting prospects of Norwegian golf, amateurs Anders Kristiansen and Are Friedstad.
Currently 86th on the Challenge Tour Rankings, Gee acknowledged he will need more of the same the rest of the week as well as in the two remaining months of the season if he is to move up and finish in the top 20 players who automatically receive playing privileges for The 2009 European Tour at the end of the year.
“I would describe my season so far as average which is a little bit frustrating,” said Gee, who is attached to The Wisley Club to the south of London. “I have played well enough in flashes but I just haven’t been consistent enough. I have started well in tournaments but haven’t kept it going – hopefully it will be a different story this week.
“However there are still plenty of tournaments left this season to make the top 20 which is still very much the goal for me. The way the money is out here on the Challenge Tour, if you can get hot for a couple of weeks and do well in the bigger events such as Kazakhstan, you have every chance.”
Certainly if Gee can keep reproducing the form he showed in the first round, his climb up the Rankings will be rapid. The Englishman slammed in five birdies in a sensational opening front nine of 32 and followed that with three further in a row from the 12th.
He three putted the 16th for bogey to halt his momentum slightly, but recovered it with a birdie four at the 18th, a drive and three wood second shot ending just short of the green before a pitch to four feet and one putt did the rest.
As well as the lead, Gee also is in pole position for the addition bonus of 8,000 Norwegian Kroner (€1000) which will be given by Bank Nordea to the player posting the lowest score of the week.
Of the five players in closest pursuit of the Englishman, Dane Huldahl is the highest placed on the Challenge Tour Rankings, currently in 17th place and, unlike leader Gee, the 26 year old from Holstebro admitted he was more than content with his season’s showing to date.
“I am pretty pleased so far,” he said. “I have been playing some good stuff and it is nice to be able to post a good score like I did today – I struck the ball well and hopefully I can move on and take advantage of that over the next three days.”
The Dane could already have had his maiden victory tucked away after leading going into the final round of the Scottish Challenge at the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel in Peebles at the end of June. But he was overtaken for the first prize on the last day by Dutchman Taco Remkes.
“Obviously it was disappointing not to win in Scotland but to be fair Taco played some great golf in the final round so I didn’t really feel like I lost that tournament, I felt he won it. But it was great experience being in the final group of a tournament and hopefully, if it happens again this week, I can use that experience to my advantage.”
Huldahl began his first round at the tenth with seven straight pars before his challenge ignited around the ‘turn’ with a birdie at the 17th, an eagle three at the 18th thanks to a sensational second three wood second shot from 240 yards to ten feet, and a further birdie four at the first.
Although he dropped a shot at the monster 622 yard fourth hole on the way home, the former Danish Amateur Stroke Play champion more than made up for that with further birdies at the third, fifth and seventh holes.