There was a five-way tie for the lead in the first round of the Credit Suisse Challenge on a day of low scoring at Golf Sempachersee in Hildisrieden, Switzerland.
Sweden’s Oscar Floren continued his recent good form with a six under par 66, which was matched by Scotland’s Andrew McArthur, Welshman Stuart Manley, Englishman James Ruth and Charles-Edouard Russo of France, while three players are one shot back after posting first rounds of 67.
Floren has been in contention the last two weeks but a poor final round on both occasions has been costly. He said: “I’m just doing everything I can to maintain this form and hopefully if I’m patient it will come eventually. I reckon the less I think about winning, the better I’ll do. If I think about it too much it will create more pressure.
“I’ve been playing great the last few weeks so I’m just trying to keep that going and not do anything differently.”
Manley would have been the outright leader had a miscalculation not cost him a double bogey at the par four fifth.
“I played okay and putted nicely,” he said. “I just had one bad hole where I got my yardages wrong and ended up hitting over the back of the green into the thick rough. I’d hit such a good drive as well, so it’s very annoying – and it’s the second time I’ve done that this season.
“I don’t see any reason why I can’t win this week. It’s what we all play for, to win, but I’m sure a lot of the guys are thinking the same thing. I’ve not had a great season so far and it would be nice to get a bit of money and move up the Rankings.”
Russo, who eagled the par five 17th when he hit his second shot to four metres, said: “I didn’t drive the ball so well but hit some good shots and was particularly good with my two and three irons. I played well in Lyon (in the ALLIANZ Golf Open de Lyon) last weekend but shot level par in the last two rounds so I knew I just had to be patient and a good score would come along. And today it has.
“I’ve got a lot to do to make it into the top 20 in the Challenge Tour Rankings – I’m 22nd at the moment - so hopefully I can get a good finish this week and move up.”
Ruth said: “I got off to a great start and was five under after nine holes. I gave myself a few more chances on the front nine but missed a couple of shortish putts which was a little annoying. But it’s a great start and it’s always good to have no bogeys on your card.
McArthur added: “I couldn’t have asked for more from that round today. I had a very good start with the three straight birdies and that just gave me a bit of momentum. After that I tried to keep hitting good shots and I holed a few putts which was nice. It’s there for the taking. I imagine there will be some very low scores today because on this course you can fire it straight at the pin as the greens are so soft.”
Germany’s Nicolas Meitinger, Scotland’s George Murray and Sweden’s Magnus Carlsson are all at five under.