Joachim B Hansen’s nine under par opening round of 63 earned him a one-shot lead at the KPMG Trophy, aided greatly by making a hole-in-one on the 15th hole at Royal Waterloo Golf Club.
Starting on the tenth hole, the Dane opened with a birdie before he holed his pitching wedge tee shot from 142 yards, adding a second eagle three holes later to turn in 30 in bright but breezy Belgian conditions.
Two late birdies took the 26 year old to the top of the leaderboard and, despite having missed his last three cuts, the 26 year old is feeling comfortable in himself as he bids to graduate from the Road to Oman for the third time, having finished in the top 15 in the Rankings in both 2012 and 2015.
“It felt good out there,” he said. “I hit a lot of good shots, hit most of my drives and pitch shots where I wanted to and then I putted really well too.
“I had three hole outs from around the green, one from the bunker, the hole-in-one of course, so it was just one of those days where everything seemed to be going right.
“It was a good distance, with a bit of helping wind from right to left, and it was just a perfect pitching wedge – it pitched a few metres onto the green and rolled perfectly into the hole.
“This takes me to five holes-in-one, a whole handful – I guess the drinks are on me tonight, and dinner as well most likely!
“It’s very nice to be leading the tournament, especially having played such a good round. I’ve been playing alright, the swing is getting better so I hope I can keep it going.
“I think I’m more or less where I want to be in terms of my swing coach, mental coach, physio, so things are looking quite good and I’m feeling positive about hopefully getting myself near that top 15 come the end of the season.”
Behind Hansen are Aksel Olsen, Joel Sjöholm and Jordan Zunic – on great form after a fifth place finish at last week’s Swiss Challenge presented by ASG – all of whom signed for rounds of 64 to share second place.
Ashton Turner completes the top five on seven under par with Seve Benson, Estanislao Goya, Jérôme Lando Casanova and Brinson Paolini one shot further back.
The Belgian contingent had illustrious company as Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters surprised fans by caddying for his friend and compatriot Cedric van Wassenhove, while the best of the home hopefuls on Day One was Arnaud Langenaeken, whose four under par 68 put him inside the top 20.