Thursday, 12 May 2011
Gregory Bourdy   (Getty Images)
Gregory Bourdy (Getty Images)

Grégory Bourdy returned to the scene of his first European Tour title and set a new course record to lead after the first round of the Iberdrola Open.

The Frenchman completed the Pula GC lay-out in a seven under par 63, having captured the 2007 Mallorca Classic at the same venue.

"I feel very good and I like this course - I won three years ago so everything is great here," said Bourdy, who has three European Tour titles to his name.

"It's always great to hold a course record. It's very nice on Tour to get a score like this.

"I made nine birdies, only two or three mistakes but it was a wonderful day."

Bourdy went out in a five under par 31 after starting at the tenth, and then birdied the first to complete a run of four successive gains.

He then holed a six footer at the third and from 30 feet at the par three eighth, with his two bogeys coming at the 15th and seventh.

The 29 year old has not returned to Son Servera since his win, but explained: "There was no tournament two years ago and last year the flights were really difficult with my schedule, but really happy to come back here to try to win again."

Danny Willett had a front-row seat as playing partner Bourdy dazzled in the Balearic sunshine, but the 23 year old Englishman almost matched his effort - an approach to five feet at the third and a 20 foot putt at fifth amongst the highlights of his seven birdie-one bogey 64.

That left him alone in second place, one ahead of compatriot Matthew Nixon and Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke.

"It was really good today, as the last few weeks on Tour have been," said Willett, who is still seeking a maiden European Tour title despite 17 top-ten finishes.

"I have had some really good finishes and results recently but been struggling with the putter a little bit so today was better on that front. Today was good - Grégory holed a few and then we followed him. It's a good score at the end of the day."

Clarke holed a ten footer at the first and struck his approach to three feet two holes later as he completed the front nine in a four under par 31.

And the Ryder Cup Vice Captain believes he has been rejuvenated by a three-week holiday in the Bahamas - the same venue last week's winner Thomas Aiken recuperated before capturing his maiden European Tour title.

"My distance control and wedges were very good today and I putted nicely," said Clarke, whose last victory came at the KLM Open in 2008. "It's nice to have a little bit of break and get away from it."

Welshman Rhys Davies is fifth on four under, while Ryder Cup Captain José Maria Olazábal - who designed the course - returned a one over 71.

Olazábal and predecessor Colin Montgomerie missed their practice round to attend Seve Ballesteros' funeral on Wednesday, and it showed as the Scot dropped five shots in his last three holes for a 77.

Rookie Nixon, enjoying his maiden campaign in the professional ranks, said: “It was good. This course sets up nicely for my eye and is more my length.

“I just hit some nice shots and holed some putts and here I am. I had a few good approaches and kept hitting good putts all day so hopefully I can continue in that vein over the next three days.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CLARKE, DarrenNIR18-6
T2LYNN, DavidENG18-3
T2WOOD, ChrisENG18-3
4FORSYTH, AlastairSCO18-2
T5LAWRIE, PaulSCO18-1
T5STORM, GraemeENG18-1
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