The English pair of Stuart Davis and Simon Robinson set the pace after the first round of the Credit Suisse Challenge after matching opening rounds of 67, six under par, at Wylihof GC, Switzerland.
On a blistering hot day in Luterbach, Davis picked up three birdies on each nine to set the early clubhouse target, later matched by Robinson.
For Davis, the Credit Suisse Challenge is his first Challenge Tour event of the year having graduated to the main Tour last year. But his category has only entitled him to a limited number of European Tour starts and, having not got into the Open de France ALSTOM, Davis opted to compete in Switzerland. So far, the decision is paying off.
“I’ve played okay this season, just haven’t had the opportunities,” said Davis, whose best performance has been tied 15th in the Open de España. “I have only played nine out of 27 events on The European Tour and it is soul destroying, so I decided to play here just to keep playing. These next two weeks are good tournament practice for some of The European Tour events coming up after The Open. But it’s strange going back to pulling your own trolley as you get used to being spoilt on the main Tour.”
Robinson has been struggling on the Challenge Tour having made only one cut this year, but a friend at his local club helped him recall a tip which brought him success in his amateur days by just focusing on six holes at a time.
“I was focused on six hole stretches and just tried to play each six in two under par,” he explained. “I played the first six un two under, missed a short putt on the 11th so only managed one under for the next six but then did the last six in three under so it worked well. It’s been quite a while since I played that well.”
Two 30 foot putts on the par three fifth and 16th holes provided the highlights of Robinson’s round, while his experience at the University of Houston helped him deal with the heat.
Portugal’s Tiago Cruz had no problems adjusting to the soaring temperatures as he posted a five under par 68 to lie just one off the lead. He missed only three greens and his consistency helped him to six birdies and just the one dropped shot. Cruz has spent the last fortnight at home in Lisbon working with his coach, Colin Smith, and looks to have found some form.
“It’s good motivation for the rest of the week so I just need to try and stay focused,” he commented.
Also on five under par 68 were Welshman Tim Dykes, who finished strongly with three birdies in his last five holes, and England’s Lee S James. An afternoon thunderstorm caused a delay of one and a half hours.