Americans Julian Suri and Brinson Paolini finished Round One of the Swiss Challenge presented by ASG tied at the top of the leaderboard after they both carded seven under par rounds of 64.
The childhood friends, who both studied at Duke University in North Carolina, could not be separated after 18 holes at Golf Sempachersee, with both players making seven birdies during their bogey-free opening rounds.
Paolini, who won the 2013 Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge, set the clubhouse lead after starting his first round this morning.
Suri, who secured his first professional victory last week at the D+D REAL Czech Challenge, birdied two of his last five holes to match his compatriot’s total.
Given his recent rich vein of form, which has taken Suri to the top of the Road to Oman Rankings, the 26 year old admitted he arrived in Lucerne fully confident that he could put himself in contention for a second successive European Challenge Tour title.
“I am playing really well at the moment,” said Suri, who finished second in the dual-ranking Open de Portugal at Morgado Golf Resort earlier this season.
“I was hitting good shots and I also made a lot of putts – although I was a little bit scratchy so I’ll head over to the range tonight and get it figured out for tomorrow.
“I think it all started with that second place in Portugal. Although I finished three shots back I felt pretty close having played with Matt Wallace during the first three rounds and I feel like everything has been coming together well since then.
“Brinson is probably my closest friend out here – so it was good to see him do well. We played at the same university and are the same age, and I’ve known him since I was 13.
“Once I’m on the course though I don’t think about anything else but my own game and how I’m going to execute each shot.”
Paolini, who was a runner-up in the 2013 Swiss Challenge, was also pleased with his first round score, stating that it felt good to be back at a course he knows well.
“I finished as a runner-up here four years ago so it is great to be back,” said the 26 year old. “The course is set up really well for me here – you have to keep the ball in play and be really aggressive into the greens.
“There was a lot of wind this morning so I needed to make some good iron shots – which I managed to do. Overall I feel that I played really solid today.
“Coming so close to winning here before does give you confidence, and I hope that I can go on to go one better here this year.”
Three shots adrift of the lead is a cluster of 13 players on four under par, including Swiss amateur Perry Cohen and England’s Paul Howard, who was a joint runner-up at Golf Sempachersee last season.