Friday, 18 August 2017
Marcus Kinhult  (Getty Images)
Marcus Kinhult (Getty Images)

Marcus Kinhult began his comeback from injury by carding an opening 67 to claim a share of the Viking Challenge first round lead.

The Swede was sitting in eighth place on the 2017 Road to Oman in early July, but a back injury forced him to miss four weeks – causing Kinhult to slide outside the top 15 in the Rankings.

Making his first appearance since the Italian Challenge Open by Lyoness, the 20 year old showed some signs of rust over the front nine – a birdie at the first cancelled out by three bogeys as he made the turn in 38. 

But Kinhult, who announced himself to the golfing world by leading the 2015 Nordea Masters at the halfway stage while still an amateur, showed real class to bounce back with five consecutive birdies from holes ten to 14.

An eagle at the par five 16th meant that the former Junior Ryder Cup star played the back nine at Miklagard Golf in just 29 shots.

With America’s Sihwan Kim joining him at the top of the leaderboard after 18 holes, Kinhult was thrilled to have made such a good start on his return to action.

“It was a really good score out here as it is a tough course,” he said. “I felt a bit rusty over the front nine after coming off a long break but it really clicked over the back nine.

“I managed to put a few approaches close and hole a few putts, and to come home in 29 shots was great.  

“It is a really nice course – I think most of the players have the same opinion as me as well. It is not too narrow, so you can hit a lot of fairways, but it is also very long which makes it a fair test. The greens are rolling very nicely too.

“My back has been bad for about a year now. I have been able to play but not practice as much as I would have liked to all season, and then in Italy it got a lot worse.

“I took the decision to take some time off and come back fit and healthy – and I am really feeling that way now.

“It is really nice to do well but it is an even better feeling just to be out there competing again.

“I am happy to be back and hopefully I can play some more good golf over the rest of the week.”

One behind Kinhult and Kim are South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence and England’s Jamie Elson, who both signed for four under par rounds of 68.

Martin Wiegele, who won a European Challenge Tour event at Miklagard Golf in 2007, is two shots off the lead after an opening 69 – ten years after his first victory as a professional at the Kløfta course.

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