Belgium’s Pierre Relecom carded a flawless six under par 66 on the first day of the Telenet Trophy to share the lead with Swede Magnus Carlsson.
The 24 year old home hope shone on the back nine of Rinkven Golf Club on the outskirts of Antwerp, posting birdies at the 12th, 15th, 16th and 18th after reaching the turn in two under. Carlsson had five birdies on the way out but a double bogey at the par five seventh prevented him taking the outright lead.
Relecom was unaffected by a serious accident involving his caddie, who had to withdraw early this morning after being knocked off his bike by a car late last night. Uri Goldstein telephoned Relecom this morning from hospital to tell him he had a broken foot and could not be on the bag for the tournament as planned.
“I have to mention Uri Goldstein,” said Relecom. “Thankfully he is okay and just has a broken foot. He rang me at 5.45am this morning to tell me.”
On his fine round, he added: “I just needed a few putts to go in and they did today. I had a lot of single putts. When I started I was not hitting it that well and I had a few good saves, then I holed a few good putts for birdie, then it all came together towards the end and I finished birdie, birdie, par, birdie.
“I should have birdied the 15th too but I three-putted. I was really enjoying myself out there. I got to play with Guillaume Watremez who is a very great friend of mine but we have never played together in a competitive round. And we had some people watching us towards the end. It was fun.”
Carlsson said: “I played very solid and I was good from the tee. I gave myself a lot of chances and hole two long putts. I missed a few chances as well but that’s always going to happen. It was a little annoying to double bogey the seventh – I couldn’t decide which club to take and ended up plugged in a bunker and didn’t do a good job of getting out.”
Englishman Ben Evans and Dane Steen Ottesen were five under, one in front of a group of four players.
Evans said: “I was putting it close all day and holed some putts. I’ve been playing great but not been holing the putts. The course is great – it’s very tight off the tee so if you hit it off line you’re in a lot of trouble. But I enjoyed it and I’m feeling very positive.”
Ottesen concurred, adding: “You need to be very good and accurate off the tee on this course. It’s not that long but you get punished if you’re not accurate.”