Thursday, 10 September 2015
Joachim B Hansen (photo by Phil Inglis) ()
Joachim B Hansen (photo by Phil Inglis) ()

Joachim B Hansen tied the course record with an opening round of 63 to lead the Kazakhstan Open by one shot on nine under par.

The Dane fired eight birdies and an eagle to match the low score made by his compatriot Jeppe Pape Huldahl two years ago at Nurtau GC.

Another Dane, Mads Søgaard, bogeyed the last hole to miss out on a 63 of his own and shares second place with American Sihwan Kim after round one.

Hansen currently sits in 28th position in the Road to Oman Rankings thanks largely to a run of three top ten finishes in a row in June and July, but he believes that if he can keep his putting form going he can contend through the weekend.

“I am very pleased with how I played,” said the 25 year old. “I didn’t have the best feeling when I got here to Kazakhstan, I wasn’t hitting the ball very well, but I found something good on the range yesterday and it really worked out there.

“I did not know about the course record so that is very nice to have to my name. If I hadn’t taken bogey on the second hole it could have been even better.

“The putter was hot today, I putted really well – I holed a lot from a good 20 foot, maybe further. Everything I looked at went in the hole, I didn’t really miss anything.

“Anything inside the top ten is a good result but after this start there’s no reason to think I cannot win. I just treat this like any other week, even with the big prize money, and just keep doing what I’m doing.”

Mads Sogaard

Søgaard secured the best result of his career at last month’s Made in Denmark on The European Tour, tying for sixth place.

His Challenge Tour form this season has been more inconsistent, his best finish a tied 12th at his home event the Made in Denmark Challenge, but the 22 year old is taking confidence from the Danish affinity with the Kazakhstan Open.

“I’m in a perfect position really, you can’t do much more than that in the first round,” he said. “I really like the course, it’s tight but it’s fair.

“I got off to a great start, four birdies in a row, and I played well and putted really well throughout the whole round.

“I spoke earlier in the week to Jeppe, who has the course record here, and we all thought that nine under wasn’t out there this week, but obviously it was for Joachim and almost was for me too.

“I don’t know why the Danes seem to do so well round this course, but Joachim is playing really well right now and I’m just trying to follow up.”

Kim carded six birdies and an eagle in a bogey-free round as he seeks to match or better his best result this season of tied third at the Turkish Airlines Challenge.

Another Dane, Jeff Winther, is two shots further back on six under par and holds fourth place on his own, one shot ahead of Englishmen William Harrold and Toby Tree.

The rest of the field sit at least five shots behind the leader, with five players on four under par and 50 players under par for their opening rounds in perfect scoring conditions.

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