Road to Oman leader Julian Suri reasserted his authority on his first European Challenge Tour event for three weeks as he finished Round One of the Made in Denmark Challenge – presented by Ejner Hessel one shot behind leaders Thriston Lawrence and Manuel Trappel.
Suri’s form this season has been remarkable, with a victory and two further top three finishes in his last three Challenge Tour tournaments taking him 25,000 points clear at the top of the Rankings.
Though the American looks certain to finish in the top 15 and earn a European Tour card, he was adamant after an opening seven under par round of 65 at Royal Oak Golf Club that he has not altered his mindset following his recent successes.
“Nothing’s changed,” said the 26 year old. “It’s still the same game as it’s been all season – if anything I’m hoping to be a little bit better every time I go out there and play.
“I’d say if anything I’m trying to keep the pressure on because I’ve always felt I’ve played my best when my back’s against the wall, it jump starts me a little bit.
“I don’t play well when I’m relaxed and stress free. I’m quite an intense competitor and so keeping that up is what usually gets the best out of me.
“I’m aware of where I am on the leaderboard because I know what I’m capable of and I know what my definition of good golf puts me, but I’m here to win – that’s where I expect to be and as long as I keep hitting my shots, that’s where I see myself.”
For Lawrence, meanwhile, today was the lowest round of his Challenge Tour career, beating his 65 at last year’s Bridgestone Challenge, as his eight under par 64 set the new course record in Kolding after morning thunderstorms had delayed play by two hours.
The South African earned a Sunshine Tour card through Qualifying School earlier this year but has struggled to match that result on the Challenge Tour, missing six straight cuts this season, so he was delighted to have recovered his best form in Denmark.
“I’m very, very happy with the round,” said the 20 year old. “I was very confident with my game, I was hitting a big cut off the tee a lot of the time and it all felt good out there.
“The putter actually worked today, I had 24 putts and I only missed one green on the back nine, but that run of seven birdies was incredible – I got some momentum and kept holing putts and kept on going.
“It’s been very disappointing the last six weeks. I’ve missed six cuts in a row but I still felt my game was there, I had a few under par rounds that kept me going, but today my putter was actually working and that gave me confidence immediately.
“Today is done, tomorrow is another day and I’ve got to keep doing the same thing – I might be eight under today but the cut could be five under, you just never know. It’s a grind out here and I just need to forget about today and try to do the same tomorrow.”
Trappel matched Lawrence’s course record, six birdies coming home taking the Austrian to eight under par as he built on his good form in finishing tied seventh in Switzerland earlier this month.
Behind them, alongside Suri, Paul Wallace took a share of third place while home favourite Martin Ovesen delighted Danish fans with a round of 66 to sit one shot further back.
Alongside him, tied for fifth place, are Steven Brown, Dominic Foos, Francesco Laporta and Oscar Stark on six under par.