Thursday, 23 May 2013
Roope Kakko   (Getty Images)
Roope Kakko (Getty Images)
Roope Kakko made the best of a bad situation as he took advantage of the rain delay at the Telenet Trophy to recharge his batteries before adding three more birdies to his card en route to a six under par first round of 65 at Royal Waterloo Golf Club.

The Finn had started solidly at the pristine Belgian venue, after rain delayed the start of the tournament for three and a half hours, carding three birdies in his opening nine holes in difficult conditions.

The air horn was sounded just after Kakko had picked up a shot each at the 17th and 18th holes, his eighth and ninth, but that did not halt his momentum one bit.

The 31 year old took the opportunity to rest up, have some much-needed lunch before resuming later in the day. He then picked up shots at the second, fourth and fifth to cruise to a bogey-free round which moved him into second place, with many groups set to finish their first rounds on day two.

“I don’t mind delays,” said Kakko after a long day’s golf at the spectacular parkland outside Brussels. “I kind of like them, you can chill in between play. Actually I was feeling hungry and I got to have lunch in between, it was a perfect little break!

“The key today was the driver. I was hitting it well and the rough is pretty tricky, especially with the rain and on the long holes.

“I was pretty pleased with the way I was striking my irons and I was obviously putting well, when you play in six under you need to be putting well.

“I only missed two fairways, which is a lot for me. I don’t think I've ever hit so many fairways and the ones I missed were just on the first cut.

“The 12th was my most important shot, I hit it stone dead with a five iron for my first birdie. The first three holes were tough today and I got through them in one under so that was important. Mentally, it’s so much easier when you’re under par after those holes.”

Kakko has suffered some difficult times with injury in recent years but he believes he is close to being back to his best after a strong start to the Challenge Tour season which left him in 12th place in the Rankings heading into this week.

“This is my fourth event of the season and it’s been a good start - the start I was hoping for,” he said. “I was injured for a long time. It turned out I had ruptured my Achilles. I had surgery in 2010 and the last two winters have been the first two in a long time where I've really been able to go at it.

“I practiced some physical stuff and really practiced hard and I think I'm a better player now than I was a couple of years ago. I'm probably steadier now.

“I have a new coach in America and he has helped me a lot with my technique. My fundamentals were never really great, I'm more of a feel player and he’s helped me out with that a little bit, making my swing simpler and I have much more confidence in it at the moment.”

Kakko was a shot behind the clubhouse leader overnight, Luke Goddard, who described it as the best round of his European Challenge Tour career as the Englishman carded a superb seven under par 64 to move into the lead.

Martin Sell of England was a shot behind Kakko in third place after a five under par 66 while American Dodge Kemmer, Adrian Otaegui of Spain and another Englishman, James Ruth, were tied forth on four under.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1GAUNT, DanielAUS18-11
T3VANCSIK, DanielARG18-10
T3LIMA, José-FilipePOR18-10
T3MANLEY, StuartWAL18-10
T6AGUILAR, CarlosESP18-9
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