Thursday, 25 February 2016
Romain Wattel  (Getty Images)
Romain Wattel (Getty Images)

Romain Wattel posted his lowest round of the season so far to take a share of the clubhouse lead on day one of the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

The Frenchman has finished in the top 30 in The Race to Dubai in each of his five seasons on The European Tour but has endured an indifferent start to his 2016 campaign, with three missed cuts on the Desert Swing.

He finished in a tie for 15th at the Maybank Championship Malaysia last week, though, and followed that up with an opening six under par 66 at Lake Karrinyup Country Club to share the lead with India's Shiv Kapur.

Perth native Brett Rumford was then in the group two shots back alongside fellow Australians Scott Arnold and Anthony Houston, and Northern Irishman Cormac Sharvin.

The front nine was vintage Wattel, who had an impressive five birdies but also dropped shots on the fifth and sixth to turn in 33. A flawless inward nine with birdies on the 11th, 14th and 17th then saw him set the target which was soon matched by Kapur.

The 34 year old lost his playing privileges last season with a 126th-placed finish on The Race to Dubai but showed good form in Western Australia, registering three birdies on each side, including three in four holes from the 12th.

Rumford missed a large part of last season after undergoing surgery to have 30 centimetres of his small intestine removed following a blockage but he has made a steady start to the 2016 campaign.

The five-time European Tour winner has yet to miss a cut in five events and, after finishing in the top ten recently at the Tshwane Open, opened with seven birdies and three bogeys in a 68.

Arnold had one less blemish on his card while Sharvin, an invite playing in his first European Tour event, also signed for a 68 despite a double-bogey on the par five 15th.

Houston turned in level par 36 but four birdies in his last five holes helped fire him up the leaderboard.

The group at three under was then dominated by Australians with 56 year old Peter Senior showing glimpses of the form that won him four European Tour titles alongside Ashley Hall, Steven Jeffress and Jason Scrivener.

Italian Nino Bertasio also signed for a 69, as did Scot David Drysdale.

World Number 21 Louis Oosthuizen recorded for a 70 to sit in the group at two under, a shot clear of defending champion and playing partner Thorbjørn Olesen.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
2LEVY, AlexanderFRA18-15
T4BOURDY, GrégoryFRA18-13
T4UIHLEIN, PeterUSA18-13
6WATTEL, RomainFRA18-12

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