Frenchman Julien Quesne made a stunning start to the Challenge Tour’s Trophée du Golf de Genève, firing a nine under par 63 for a one shot lead.
Quesne, currently 18th on the Challenge Tour Rankings, made a late charge to overhaul Englishman Robert Coles, who had led for much of the day after posting an eight under par 64 in the morning. The 28 year old shot an impressive six birdies on the front nine to go out in 30, before adding three more in the last four holes.
“I played very well,” said Quesne. “I had nine birdies and no bogeys so I am very happy with this score. I am playing well at the moment. The course record is 62 so maybe if I play this well again I can break it.”
Coles, who finished tied for fifth at last week’s SK Golf Challenge in Finland, carded four birdies on each nine to finish one ahead of German Florian Fritsch, whose seven under 65 was marred by a bogey at the last, his only dropped shot of the day. It undid the good work from the previous hole, where he fired an eagle on the 510-yard par five eighth.
Last week’s Challenge Tour champion Nicolas Colsaerts also made a bright start with seven birdies and a bogey giving him a round of six under par 66, a score shared by Australian Matthew Zions and Welshman Sion Bebb. However, Rankings leader Edoardo Molinari had to settle for a two under par 70, as did the man he overhauled for top spot two weeks ago, Andrew Butterfield.
Austrian Florian Praegant was five shots off Quesne’s lead after a 68 and Englishman Lee James was another shot back after posting a 69 on the 6,727-yard course a few kilometres from the shores of Lake Geneva.
Coles admitted to being a little taken aback by his low score, having struggled on the course the last time he played it.
“I’ve never done any good here so it was quite a surprise,” he said. “I’ve been playing well so I knew I’d play okay but I didn’t think it would suit me that well here. I’ve played this course once before and struggled. You know where you have done well in the past and where you haven’t but that doesn’t mean to say you can’t do well.
“I’m very pleased with eight under. I struggled a bit on the second. I came up short of the green and had to make a good up and down but from then on it was okay. I putted well from short range and I holed a putt from about 20ft on the ninth.”
Coles needs one more Challenge Tour victory to gain automatic exemption on The European Tour for the rest of this season and next, having already had two wins this year, at the MOROCCAN CLASSIC by BANQUE POPULAIRE and the Challenge of Ireland presented by Moyvalley.
He added: “Everyone here is trying to win and I’m no different, but I would be lying if I said I don’t think about it.”