It looked like it was going to be the day of the Danes in the Czech Republic when three players from the Nordic nation launched an early assault on the leaderboard, Andreas Hartø the best of them as he carded a seven under par round of 65.But at the sun-kissed venue in Drítec, Dinwiddie shone the brightest thanks to a back nine which included just 11 putts as he equalled the record set by the host club’s own brightest star, Ondrej Lieser - who turned professional the day before this tournament and finished the opening day as the highest-placed Czech on four under par.
Dinwiddie’s first birdie came at the par five second hole and he reached the turn on three under thanks to back to back birdies at the sixth and seventh holes.After driving into a fairway bunker at the par five 11th hole, Dinwiddie credited his par there as a crucial moment in his round as he maintained his momentum. He went on to pick up shots at the 12th and 13th holes before three birdies in a row at the 15th, 16th and 17th handed him a one shot lead.
“The save on 11 for par was important,” said Dinwiddie. “There is a decision there to hit it down the right or left of the fairway and I went with a three wood, which went into the bunker.“I just didn’t have enough knowledge of that hole and I scrambled for par and that kept me going. Then I had about six or seven one-putts in a row, which was nice. I hit a lot of good putts and they all went where I wanted them to go.”
The three-time Challenge Tour winner has been in a similar position this season as he led after each of the opening two rounds at the English Challenge in July but could not press home his advantage. He is hoping to go a step further this week, however, and claim his fourth title.“It’s been an average year really,” said the 29 year old. “But it’s one of those developmental years where I have figured out a lot about my game and I've started to play better in the second half of the season.
“I have been in this position before and I haven’t quite managed to get it done this year but it would be really nice to win at the end of the season. It’s a great start but it’s only the first round and I have to go out and try and build on it tomorrow.“I am 46th in the Rankings at the moment and because I’m so close to making it to the (Apulia San Domenico) Grand Final, I felt I had to come and give it a go.”
Earlier in the day, Hartø took the clubhouse lead having also avoided a single dropped shot on the way to his seven under par round and he headed a significant Danish presence at the top end of the leaderboard, with Anders Schmidt Hansen (-6), Rasmus Hjelm (-5), Joachim B Hansen (-5) and Morten Orum Madsen (-4) all having positive starts to the week.The two-time Challenge Tour winner was happy to be the leader of that pack and put it down to a new putting routine which he adopted after missing the cut by one shot at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on The European Tour.
“I played well tee to green in Scotland last week but I putted badly so I drew a line on my ball to help line up the putt and I made some good putts today,” said the 24 year old. “I made the ones you have to make to get a round going.
“It was nice to see that the putting was working and that was the main thing today. Even though I missed the cut last week by one it was a good experience and I’ve mixed the putting up a little so I took a good game here and improved my putting.”Hartø was out on his own in second place going into the second day while (Anders Schmidt) Hansen, Mikko Korhonen of Finland, Frenchman Alexander Levy and England’s Steven Tiley were in tied third place on six under par.
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