Denmark’s Thomas Norret made a blistering start to the Moroccan Golf Classic by setting a new course record to establish a one-shot lead over Richard Kind.
Norret’s relaxed new approach paid off in spectacular fashion, as he fired 11 birdies to beat Adam Gee’s course record at Pullman Mazagan Royal Golf and Spa in El Jadida, Morocco, by two shots.
The 36 year old leads by one stroke from Dutchman Kind, whose bogey at the ninth hole was the only blemish in an otherwise sumptuous round of 63.
“I got off to a great start,” said Norret, whose highest finish of the season was tied 17th in the ALLIANZ Côte d’Armor Open de Bretagne.
“I hit it really close on the first few holes, which gave me a lot of confidence. I felt very relaxed for the whole round, holed a lot of short putts and even rolled in a couple of long ones too.
“I haven’t been doing so well this season and have been trying to find some form. I feel like my game has been solid but I’ve been struggling on the greens so I have been working hard on my putting the last few weeks.
“It was a lot better today. It’s only one good round so I wouldn’t say it’s a complete turnaround yet, but it bodes well for the next few days.”
Englishman Guy Woodman is two shots back after compiling an opening seven under par round of 65.
Woodman, whose victory at the 2008 PGA Assistants Championship earned him a place in last year’s BMW PGA Championship, hit seven birdies in a flawless round of golf.
That was good enough for the Londoner to claim a share of third place alongside American Nico Bollini, who mixed two bogeys with nine birdies.
Woodman, who also qualified for The Open Championship last year, said: “I played some pretty solid golf without being spectacular. I was five under for the back nine, and it was overall very pleasing. I hit every green on the back nine and also holed a few putts, which made for a nice change.”
The 32 year old, who is attached to Stoke Park, will now bid to build on his solid foundations, having failed to do so in his two previous starts.
“I’ve been showing glimmers of great golf but then it gets to the third round and I fade away,” he said. “It’s very different playing at this level for four rounds, and I’m still getting used to it. I feel my game’s starting to come together, and my mental strength and concentration is improving too.
“I’ve been working very hard over the last few months, and when you have rounds like today you feel it’s beginning to pay off.”
Scotland’s Elliot Saltman is in fifth place after signing for a round of 66 which included nine birdies.
|1||BAKER, Christopher Ryan||USA||18||-13|
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|T2||ARRUTI, Jesus Maria||ESP||18||-11|