Despite enduring an 80 minute weather delay at the OPEN DE SAINT-OMER presented by NEUFLIZE OBC 2007, David Bransdon and David Higgins emerged as joint first round leaders on six under par.
The Australian and the Irishman, both desperate to win this dual ranking event between The European and Challenge Tours in order to secure full playing rights for The European Tour for the remainder of the current season and the whole of 2008, made excellent starts at the Aa St Omer Golf Club in Northern France.
Higgins was the first of the pair to reach the clubhouse, overtaking Australia’s Simon Nash’s early lead of five under to take the outright lead.
He was soon joined by Bransdon, who made a blistering start to the day from the tenth tee, reeling off a par and then five consecutive birdies to hoist himself to the top of the leaderboard.
“That was a very satisfying start,” smiled the Australian after signing for a 65.
“A nice little par on the tenth and then I reeled off five straight birdies. I was trying to recall the last time that happened and I struggled to remember to be honest.
“We had the rain delay and I had only played nine holes and then we went back out and the ball wasn’t going as far because of the murky weather, which you could see from my finish because I had two par fives in the last three holes and didn’t birdie either of them. I had two chances, but six under is not a bad round.
“I have started to show some form over the last few weeks and posting some low numbers. I came here and qualified for the French Open on Monday and Tuesday at Chantilly so the form is good. This is my first visit to France playing golf so it has been pretty good so far.”
Higgins feels that he has been in great form for the last two months and is hoping that he can transfer form into results this week after showing promise of doing just that at the BA Ca golf open presented by Telekom Austria last week where he finished ninth.
The 34 year old has had the benefit of some family tuition from his father, Liam, a former European Tour player himself, and brother, Brian, also a professional.
“I have been playing well for the last two months but I haven’t been finishing the tournaments off the way I should have so it’s great to start the way I did today.
“There are lots of different things, small things that I have been working. I have been working with my brother, Brian, at Waterville Golf Club and my old man as well – I can’t forget him! But they do deserve a mention because they do help me a lot.
“I suppose they have an advantage. I have tried all the other coaches over the years but I always go back to them because they have been watching me since I was a kid. My father always says try and keep as simple as I can and I have been doing that for the last four or five events and I think that’s the key.”
While Higgins and Bransdon were enjoying some fine form in St Omer, two of the pre-tournament favourites, Sweden’s Michael Jonzon and France’s own Jean-François Remesy had a day to forget.
Jonzon, third in Austria last week, lost his way with an 11 over par 82, while Remesy, who finished runner-up last weekend only after a sudden-death play-off against Australia’s Richard Green, posted a four over 75.