Michael Lorenzo-Vera rekindled memories of 2007 with an impressive seven under par 64 in the first round of the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final.
The Frenchman had an eagle, eight birdes and three bogeys to fall a couple of shots short of his stunning opening effort five years ago en route to winning the tournament and the Challenge Tour Rankings.
The 27 year old is 38th in the Rankings currently so needs a top two finish to jump inside the top 21 and gain a European Tour card for next season, but he might not have been playing at all, having sat out the last two tournaments with a wrist injury.
"I’ve had two weeks off because of a wrist injury, and I only hit two baskets of balls last Friday before coming here," he said. "It feels good today though and Sebastien the physio is doing a good job on it. I am very happy.
“It was on the way to another 62 but I had a little wobble on the back nine with two bogeys in a row. I played so well all day. The only problem was that when I missed a shot, I couldn’t fix it. Every time I missed a shot, I dropped a shot.
“My putting was great. I hit many shots very close to the pin and I holed some excellent putts as well – a couple from about six metres. With the eagle on the 11th I hit a good drive, a rescue club to about a metre and a half and rolled in the putt. Easy!
“2007 was in my head a lot today. I was thinking about the way I played that time. I like the way the greens roll and feel very comfortable on them. I find them easy to read, for some reason."
Italian Marco Crespi also signed for a 64, while Dutchman Wil Besseling was at the same mark after 17 holes.
Matteo Delpodio had a six under par 65, but Rankings leader Kristoffer Broberg was struggling to find the same form that earned him the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Challenge title last week and was level par through ten holes.
The top 45 players in the Rankings have made it to the Challenge Tour season finale, and at the conclusion of the tournament the top 21 players in the Rankings gain a European Tour card for 2013.
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