Just four days after claiming his maiden Challenge Tour title in nearby Switzerland, Belgium’s Pierre Relecom found himself in pole position once again following the first day of Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge in France.
The 29 year old, who last week returned victorious at the Swiss Challenge presented by Association Suisse de Golf, fired a blemish-free six under par 65 at Golf PGA France du Vaudreuil to snatch a narrow lead over an eight–strong group of players lying just one shot back.
Amongst those tied for second following the opening day was Scottish Hydro Challenge winner Andrew Johnston and his fellow Englishmen Callum Shinkwin, Jack Senior and Jason Palmer, who were joined on five under par by the Swedish pair of Niclas Johansson and Jens Fahbring, Northern Ireland's Gareth Shaw plus Italian Filippo Bergamaschi.
On a hot and humid first day in northern France, where play was halted for more than an hour in the afternoon due to a passing thunderstorm, Brussels-born Relecom got off to a fast start with two birdies in his first three holes after beginning at the tenth.
A further gain followed at the par four 17th while the Royal Waterloo player found three further birdies coming home and Relecom later reflected on what a morale boost last week’s victory has proved to be.
“Obviously, when you have won, there is less pressure,” he said. “My game did not change and it has been a good period for me for a few weeks. Coming here I had no expectations because it is often tough to play after a victory. I just wanted to enjoy my week and played my shots fully.
“Last week in Switzerland, it was my first tournament after a four week break due to an Achilles tendon injury so I was so happy to go back to course. When you sign for a top ten, you feel confident, but when you win, you prove to yourself that you can do it. Now, on each tournament coming, I know that I can win and that is a great boost.”
Shaw, meanwhile, was also bogey free thanks to a hot putter and a momentum-saving series of par saves and the Belfast native said it was a welcome upturn in form after what has been a testing season thus far for the 28 year old.
“Putting was the key today,” said Shaw, whose best finish so far in 2014 is a tied 39th place at the Turkish Airlines Challenge back in May. “It is the first time I have been here but I like the course. I didn’t hit it well off the tee but my irons were nice and I played all the par threes well.
“To be honest, I had a pretty horrible year so this is a pleasant surprise. I have taken the last two weeks off and maybe that helps a few things but the putter was very solid today and hopefully it will carry on.”
Elsewhere, despite making a double bogey at the par four 15th, three-time European Tour winner Johan Edfors signed for a solid 67 to join a seven–way tie for tenth place, just two shots off the lead, following the opening 18 holes in France.
|T2||SORDET (AM), Clément||FRA||18||-12|