Joachim B. Hansen leads by one shot at the Hopps Open de Provence after his seven under par bogey-free round of 65 at Golf International de Pont Royal.
The Dane, who has two 2018 European Challenge Tour victories to his name, carded five birdies and an eagle in his blemish free round as the Hopps Open de Provence made its debut on the Challenge Tour’s International Schedule.
The 28 year old started early on Day One on the Severiano Ballesteros-designed course, the only French course designed by the late Ballesteros, making a quick move to the top of the leaderboard with two birdies in his first three holes.
Further gains on the seventh and ninth saw him remain in top spot at the turn, before he increased his lead on the pack with an eagle on the 513-yard par five 14th and then finished his round with a birdie on the last.
With wins in Turkey and Denmark already, Hansen has his sights set on becoming the fourth Challenge Tour winner on French soil this season.
“I was solid out there today,” he said. “I didn’t have to fight for any pars, only one testing putt from a metre, but the rest were birdie chances or gimme putts, so that was very nice.
“My front nine was very solid, which was good. I almost didn’t have any mistakes on those holes. I had one three-putt on the fourth but other than that the front nine was perfect.
“It was really nice to have a bogey-free round today. It’s always nice to do that and I’ve had a few of them this season.”
Hot on Hansen’s heels are Ewen Ferguson, Roope Kakko, Alfie Plant, and French duo Romain Langasque and Damien Perrier, who all shot rounds of 66, six under par, to lie one behind the Dane.
Plant eagled his opening hole to start off on the front foot and finished with three birdies in his final four holes to move to tied second, carding his lowest round of the season, which delighted the Englishman.
“It was pleasing to finish with those birdies. I thought I let it slip in the middle of the round with a couple of bogeys, but it was nice to pull it back at the end,” he said.
“It was beautiful out there today. The sun was shining, and the course was in great condition. I got off to a flying start which always helps, and I really enjoyed myself.
“It’s always nice to see good scores on the leaderboard because it gives you an aim to go for, but you try and do the best you can. It was nice to finish near the top today because I’ve had a few battles this year.”