Robert Dinwiddie tamed tough scoring conditions at Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val-André to hold a narrow advantage after day one of the Open de Bretagne.
The 36-year-old carded an opening round of four under par 66 in just his second Challenge Tour start of the season to finish the day one shot clear of Icelandic duo Gudmundur Kristjansson and Birgir Hafthorsson.
The Englishman birdied three of his last six holes to move into the lead on a day where strong winds pummeled the seaside venue.
Runner-up at the 2013 edition of the tournament, Dinwiddie has made the most of his limited starts this season, finishing in the top 20 at his only other Challenge Tour appearance, the Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open.
His four under par total is the highest first round lead at a Challenge Tour event this year, and only 16 of the 156-man field broke par as sustained winds blew across the firm and fast venue throughout the day.
‘’I played really well, it’s nice to be back out playing,” the 36-year-old said. “I putted really well out there today and holed solid putts on six, seven and eight to finish it off nicely, so overall, I’m really happy with my performance out there today.
‘’I got just about everything I could out of my round today. I haven’t been able to play many Challenge Tour events because of my ranking but I feel like my game’s in a good place.
“I haven’t been able to put my game under this kind of scrutiny at this level for a while so I’m happy that I was able to hold it together and I’m hopeful that I can continue this form over the next few days.’’
Meanwhile, experience also paid off for Hafthorsson, who clinched the first, and still only, win by an Icelander on the Challenge Tour at the 2017 Open de Bretagne. Teeing up only his third Challenge Tour start this season, the former champion carded five birdies and two bogeys on day one to sit one back on three under par.
Looking to add to the Icelandic win tally as well is Kristjansson, who is searching for his first Challenge Tour victory following a successful stretch playing on the Nordic Tour. Starting in the first group of the day, the 26-year-old carded the best score of the morning wave, a three under par 67, which included six birdies and three bogeys, as many of the early starters struggled to break par.
Frederic Lacroix is the leading French player after an opening round of two under par 68 left him in a tie for fifth, with local amateur and Monday qualifier Victor Joffray sitting one shot further back.
Dinwiddie begins his second round tomorrow at 8:50am local time, with Hafthorsson getting under way at 9:30am and Kristjansson at 1:00pm.