The Dane played in the final group at last week’s Open Blue Green Côtes d'Armor Bretagne but struggled in the final round and finished tied for 11th spot.
He picked off from where he left off in France with a bogey at the tenth, his first, on the tricky lay-out at Superior Golf and Spa Resort, in Kharkov. But he managed to turn things around and return to the form that saw him contend last week as three successive birdies from the 12th hole took him to the turn in two under.
Bjerregaard then carded an eagle at the fourth hole before holing out from a greenside bunker at the difficult fifth hole to move into the lead midway through the day, before being leapfrogged by Riu among others.
“The course is in great shape,” said the 22 year old, who won the Nordic Golf League Rankings last year to qualify for the Challenge Tour. “It’s a tricky course because there are holes where you think you can make easy birdies but there are a couple of tough pins out there and you still have to hit good shots.
“I played solid all day and I was really hoping to make birdie at the ninth but other than that I hit a lot of greens and hit good drives at tough holes to get into good positions to make par. All in all, a really good day.”
Having arrived on the Challenge Tour this year with a burgeoning reputation as a young European star, Bjerregaard has not quite found his feet yet in his rookie season but is hoping to hit a spell of form at the business end of the season.
“I have had some good rounds this year but only one or two good rounds per tournament,” he said. “There have been a lot of 20th or 30th place finishes and you don’t move anywhere with that form.
“It’s starting to get better now, although it might be too late but I will try to make the most of it. I'm trying to do all I can and at least keep my Challenge Tour card for next year.
“I had some troubles with my swing but it’s coming around and I started to find something a couple of weeks ago in practice. The players out here are all so good. On the Nordic Golf League if you play bad you might drop 15 places but out here you would drop 50 places so that’s been the big difference. You have an off-day and you’re too far behind.”
Riu took inspiration from his playing partner and Ukrainian football legend Andriy Shevchenko as the Frenchman’s course-record eight under par 64 earned him a two shot lead after the opening day.
The 28 year old, a winner on the European Challenge Tour already this year, was drawn alongside the former European Footballer of the Year as Ukraine hosts its first major professional golf tournament.
While a plethora of journalists and TV crews gathered to watch Shevchenko make his Challenge Tour debut, it was another man in the group who stole the limelight with a near flawless round at the stunning Superior Golf and Spa Resort.