Sebastian Heisele took a one shot lead after the first round of Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge with a fine eight under par round of 63 at Golf PGA France du Vaudreuil.
The German made nine birdies on a perfect scoring day in northern France to put himself at the top of the leaderboard, with Ross Kellett his closest challenger and Wil Besseling, Ryan Fox and Matthew Nixon a shot further back.
The 27 year old has finished in the top 20 six times in ten events this season and sits 24th in the Road to Oman Rankings, but admitted he has been frustrated not to have converted several promising positions into victories already.
“It felt good today,” he said. “It’s been a good year so far but I posted eight under today because I had a hot putter and managed to hole a few good ones.
“I felt quite comfortable out there today and it’s a bit of redemption for last year when I went out and I shot nine over on the first day – I was trying for nine under today to even it out but didn’t quite get there!
“It’s just one of those things where you feel comfortable – I came here last year so this year I’m happier here and knew what to expect. It’s a course where you’re going to get plenty of opportunities if you hit fairways and greens.
“It’s nice to be in a good position going into tomorrow and into the weekend hopefully and for me, I’ve had a very good scoring average this year and I’ve been able to be in good positions quite a lot going into the final day but it hasn’t quite worked out for me so far.
“I don’t necessarily feel 100% or totally comfortable going into the final day just yet, I often have jittery or nervous starts in a way, so it’s a learning process right now.
“Confidence is obviously there, I know I can put a score together – my scoring average is about 69 which is one of the lowest this season – and I know that the game is there and that takes a bit of stress out of it when you tee up and know you can hit a low one, like today.
“I tend to go out and play my game and hope to be in the red numbers every day – I think I’ve only had two or three rounds over par this year, but sometimes at the wrong times and that ends up costing you.
“There’s always going to be someone on Challenge Tour who goes and shoots the lights out, like I did today and Adrien Saddier or Nicolo Ravano [who shot a 59] did last week. Someone will go low tomorrow, hopefully it might be me again.”
Kellett had a putt for a 59 of his own last Thursday at the Fred Olsen Challenge de España but led after round one with a 60 and the Scot was quick out of the blocks again this week, a bogey-free 64 good enough for second place on his own.
Reigning champion Fox had an eventful round, mixing ten birdies with just five pars as he began his title defence impressively, with Dutchman Besseling and England’s Sam Nixon matching the New Zealander’s score of 65.
The French charge was led by Olivier Rozner and Clément Sordet, who were both five under par after round one, with last week’s winner Saddier and Rankings Number Three Matthieu Pavon one shot further back.