Despite having a seven on his card, Sweden’s Jens Dantorp signed for a stunning round of 63 on the second morning of the ALLIANZ Open Côtes d’Armor Bretagne to surge from tied 75th overnight to a share of first place.
Dantorp is no stranger to feats of incredibly low scoring, having lived every professional golfer’s dream at the Bravo Tour Open on the Satellite Nordic League last season, when he signed for a magical round of 59.
Needless to say, Dantorp went on to win that tournament en route to topping the Nordic League’s Order of Merit, thus earning him a place on the Challenge Tour this season.
The 22 year old from Malmö has enjoyed a productive start to his debut Challenge Tour campaign, following up a tied 12th finish in India with a joint 30th finish in Kenya to climb into the top 30 of the Rankings.
But his round of 63 – which included ten birdies, six pars, a bogey and that double bogey seven – was comfortably the lowest of Dantorp’s fledgling Challenge Tour career.
According to Dantorp, the main difference between an opening round of 74 and his rather more spectacular effort on the second day was that his putter caught fire, despite the cold temperatures and stiff breeze at Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André, in the Bretagne region of northern France.
He said: “Other than my double bogey, I have to be very pleased with that round. Unfortunately I lost my first drive and then hit my second tee shot into the thick rough, so in the end I was quite pleased to walk off with a seven. And I got the shots straight back, so in the end it didn’t matter too much.
“The wind was much calmer than yesterday and the game just felt quite easy today. I was hitting my approach shots close, and my putter was really hot – I made a lot of putts from three or four metres. I don’t know how many putts I had, but I know it wasn’t very many! Hopefully if I can keep that going over the weekend, I will have a good chance.”
Mikko Korhonen, playing his first event of the season after recovering from the wrist surgery he underwent in February, joined Dantorp at the top of the leaderboard, albeit with a more mundane round of 69.
Having spent six weeks recuperating from surgery, Korhonen flew to Orlando, America, to undergo some intensive winter practice with his fellow Finns Antti Ahokas and Roope Kakko, whose nuptials he attended on New Year’s Eve.
And the practice paid off with a steady display which included birdies at the 10th (his first), seventh and eighth holes, where he drained a 30 foot putt.
Korhonen said: “I’m happy, because I played very steady. I started with a birdie but then had to wait a long time for my second one, so I had to be patient. But I struck my driver very well all day, and the key to going low round here is to keep the ball in play and away from the rough, because the greens are quite receptive. So if you find the fairways, you’ve got a chance of making birdies. It was obviously disappointing to finish with a bogey, but I won’t worry too much about it.
“This is my first tournament since Q School last year, so I’ve been itching to go. It was frustrating having the wrist surgery, because it made for a very long off-season. But I needed to get it done, because my fingers were starting to feel a bit numb. But I’m back now, so hopefully I can start to make up for lost time.”
Joint overnight leaders Chris Hanson and Stephen Grant struggled to build on their solid opening efforts, carding front nine scores of 37 and 39 respectively.
But Spaniard Carlos Aguilar was moving in the opposite direction up the leaderboard, collecting five birdies in his opening 12 holes to climb to five under par.