Wednesday, 26 July 2017
Oliver Farr  (European Tour)
Oliver Farr (European Tour)

Oliver Farr and Oscar Stark both fired eight under par rounds of 63 to share the lead after the first round of the Italian Challenge Open by Lyoness. 

On a day of low scoring in Sardinia it was Wales’s Farr who struck first, carding eight birdies during a bogey-free opening round to set the clubhouse target at eight under par.

Windier conditions faced the afternoon starters, but Sweden’s Stark made light work of the course at the picturesque Is Molas Resort. 

The 28 year old, who won his first European Challenge Tour title earlier this season at the Made in Denmark Challenge – presented by Ejner Hessel, also went bogey-free, with two eagles over the back nine helping propel him up to the top of the leaderboard. 

Having produced such fine opening scores, both men were delighted with their efforts after keeping their cool in temperatures of up to 35°C.

“That was the best round I’ve played tee to green all year,” said Farr. “I started really well. I kept hitting it close all day and when I needed to I holed some putts.

“I felt good on the range this morning so that gave me the confidence to be a bit more aggressive out there today. The greens were very soft so you could go out there and throw it at them.

“It is definitely one of my better rounds, in the past I’ve shot 64 so I definitely think today was my lowest round ever.

“I came here on Tuesday and I knew that having a morning tee time was going to be key as there is no wind and very soft greens. 

“To score 63 is a very good start, but I think that there will be a lot more low rounds to come this week.”

“I was really fired up over the back nine,” said Stark. “Making two eagles was very nice and I hit some really good shots today.

“I almost made a hole-in-one and on the par five 16th I holed a really long putt for eagle which was a great feeling.

“The wind was switching a lot this afternoon, so that was quite tricky to deal with at times – but I felt I coped really well.

“Overall it was a very solid round. A few long putts fell, but I can see myself going this low again during the rest of the week. 

“I just tried to stay away from the heat as much as I could. I played the whole of my round with an umbrella, which really helped!”

One behind the leaders are Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen and the Netherlands’ Reinier Saxton, who both carded seven under par scores of 64. 

Marco Crespi was the pick of the home favourites, the Italian bagging seven birdies en route to a six under par opening round of 65.

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