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Thursday, 09 May 2019
Ewen Ferguson (Richard Castka/sportpixgolf.com) ()
Ewen Ferguson (Richard Castka/sportpixgolf.com) ()

Five players are tied for the first round lead at the Prague Golf Challenge after carding seven under par rounds of 65 at Prague City Golf. 

Early starters Ewen Ferguson and Billy Spooner set the target at 65 and it looked as though the two of them would be the men to catch with no one making a charge as the afternoon elapsed.

However, Wil Besseling, Richard Bland and Jonas Kölbing made late darts to the top of the leaderboard with the latter posting four birdies, an eagle and a bogey in his final six holes.

Ferguson was one of only two men to post bogey-free rounds on Day One – the other being Englishman Laurie Canter – while Dutchman Besseling signed off with an excellent birdie at the last to ensure he would share the lead going into the second day.

One shot behind the quintet at the top of the leaderboard is Dane Benjamin Poke on six under par who, along with playing partner Robin Dawson, began his round in scintillating fashion with five birdies in his first five holes before making the turn at seven under. Two bogeys and a single gain on his back nine means he will start the second round one shot back.

There were mixed emotions for Frenchman Mathieu Decottignies-Lafon who finished his round with a hole-in-one on the 18th, however missed out on the car which will be awarded to the first player who manages to ace it, as the giveaway only takes place over the weekend.

Ewen Ferguson said: "It was a good round today. I’ve been practicing quite well lately and I had quite a solid week last week. Obviously, there’s a long way to go but it’s good to get off to a nice start.

"The best bit was chipping in on 16. I short-sided myself and I was a bit annoyed, but the greens are soft enough where you can get one close and I pitched it and it fell right in with the last roll of the ball.

"I love the course, I think it’s beautiful. I actually played with the greenkeeper yesterday in the Pro-Am and he was giving me a few little pointers. I saw him on the course today and he saw I was playing alright so he gave me a thumbs up, which was quite nice.

"He really knew the course inside out. He said: ‘the green on number ten is really slow’ and I got on ten today and thought: ‘aye, he’s right!’.

"I want to kick on this year but I’m in no rush, I just want to play well. With a few other Scots doing well, it would be nice to maybe get a win somewhere along the line. I just need to keep trying as hard as I can and maybe try and use some of the other boys, like Connor [Syme] in Turkey, as inspiration."

Wil Besseling said: "I played very well. I think the key point here is there are a lot of carries from the tee which are about 260-265 yards. I was driving it really well and I was able to carry them all. It makes this course a lot different to guys who are not able to do that.

"From there on, I was very relaxed and played solid from the start. I gave myself a lot of chances and I was only in trouble once on six and then didn’t get up and down on the par three earlier. I’m very pleased with where my game is and also mentally as well. It was very nice to finish with a birdie and card a 65 to start with.

"I finished well last week, my last round was very good and I brought that game here this week. Turkey was nice and tied third was a great way to open the season. I’m feeling better than last year so hopefully I can get some more good results after Turkey. I’m looking forward to the next three days and the rest of the season."

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