France’s Damien Perrier produced a sparkling finale to his opening round in the Fred Olsen Challenge de España, finishing with a hat-trick of birdies to share the lead on six under par with the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Lieser.
Perrier, playing in only his second European Challenge Tour event of the 2014 season, made an explosive start at Tecina Golf, La Gomera, carding the lowest round of his Challenge Tour career with a superb 65.
After birdies on the second and third holes, the 24 year old dropped his only shot of the day on the par three fourth hole when he missed the back of the green, before further birdies on the sixth and ninth holes. He then carded six straight pars immediately after the turn, before a rousing end to his round, with consecutive birdies on the 16th, 17th and 18th holes.
“I had a very good feeling, and it was a good start,” he said. “I am in a very special situation, as I don’t have a good category in the Challenge Tour, so I only have six or seven starts.
“My spirit is ok but this is the situation, and I know I have to play great every chance I have, and it is a challenge for me.
“I just came from the Alps Tour in Goudaloupe where I finished second. I played really well and got confidence and I wanted to play here, as it is the same kind of weather, grass and golf course and I can continue building confidence.
“It is a great start. I am playing really well and hope to keep it like that.”
Meanwhile Lieser posted six birdies in his blemish free round, as he continues his comeback from a troublesome wrist injury that hampered his 2013 campaign.
“Last year I injured my left wrist and don’t know how and the doctors did not what was going wrong but, for four months I could not open my hand,” said the 23 year old. “So I decided to go to a healer at home and, believe me, I have no idea what he did but 10 minutes later I could play again. Now I am playing fine, and trying to play as much as possible.”
Home favourite Juan Antonio Bragula, English trio Sam Hutsby, Max Orrin and Jason Palmer, Norway’s Anders Engell and Italian Matteo Delpodio are all one shot back after an opening rounds of 66, Bragula having reached the turn in an impressive 29 strokes before mixing two bogeys and a birdie on the back nine, while Orrin finished in spectacular style with an eagle and a birdie.
Meanwhile, Belgium’s Hugues Joannes produced the highlight of the day with an ace on the par three, 182 yard fourth hole, holing his eight iron tee shot, and is three shots off the pace on three under par.
He said: “It was a perfect shot, pretty straight and landed two yards right of the pin and trickled in. It was confusing because the green is pretty light with the sun beating on it and we heard the ball but could not see very clearly if the ball was in.
“It is my second hole-in-one in competition, but my first as a pro. I played very up and down today. Great things happened like the hole-in-one, and then I double bogeyed the par five seventh. But overall it was pretty good.”