Austria’s Roland Steiner and Frenchman Benjamin Nicolay set the clubhouse lead at five under par in the first round of the Allianz Open Cotes D’Armor – Bretagne.
Three consecutive birdies on the front nine helped Nicolay on his way to a 65 at Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André, while Steiner, who finished tenth in the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda last week, finished with three straight birdies to leap to the top of the leaderboard.
English pair Jamie Moul and Tommy Fleetwood, Frenchman Tony Raillard and Austrian Florian Praegant are a shot back at four under, while defending champion Sam Walker, among the afternoon starters, was one under after three holes.
Steiner said: “I just kept on going from last week really. I’m playing the same way, the same kind of golf as I played last week in Austria. I’ve been playing very well for a few months and enjoying it a lot. It’s a nice feeling when you can do your job like this and go out and play round after round of very good golf.
“It was a great score today. I had seven birdies and could have had a few more. It was a great way to finish with three birdies – all three were good drives and a wedge into the green. I hit it close and holed the putts, which makes it sound very simple but when you’re playing well it is simple.
“It was just like in Klagenfurt last week – there was very little wind and you know that if you stay patient your chances will come. This is one of the nicer courses on the Challenge Tour schedule. It is in very good condition – even the greens.
“Someone went crazy last night and vandalised some of the greens, taking chunks out with a club, but thankfully it didn’t affect the play. I think the greenkeeping staff did a very good job of repairing the damage this morning. It’s very sad to see someone doing that on the eve of a tournament.
“It’s one of those courses that’s great to play if the weather is okay but if it’s not so good and very windy it is a lot tougher.”