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

Romain Wattel rediscovered his form in fine fashion on Thursday to sit just one shot off the lead after the opening round of the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

The Frenchman endured an indifferent start to the 2016 season, missing three cuts on the Desert Swing, but finished in a tie for 15th at last week's Maybank Championship Malaysia.

The 25 year old is still searching for a first win but has been one of the most consistent performers on The European Tour in recent seasons, finishing in the top 30 on The Race to Dubai in each of his five years on the circuit.

An opening 66 at Lake Karrinyup Country Club has handed him a good start in his mission to break that duck, but Wattel is happy just to be back to something like his best.

"That would be fantastic," he said. "But I'm not thinking about it.

I did not play very well at the beginning of the year, so I'm trying to get more confidence and to play some good golf. If I play well this week, I'll be very happy - Romain Wattel

"It's always good to start with a six under round. I'm really happy with my round today. That was not easy with a very, very early tee time.

"I played very well and I managed to make some good putts today. That was the key for me."

Shiv Kapur also fired a 66 to sit alongside Wattel but the Indian, who lost his card last season, was close to withdrawing from the tournament with a shoulder injury.

"I wasn't even sure I was going to tee it up," he said. "I was really struggling on the driving range this morning with my shoulder and the chiropractor here did a great job to get me fit to play. I popped a couple of pills and went out there.

"Sometimes when you drop the expectations and you don't really think about a golf swing, you're just trying to get it around and play one shot at a time, the old cliché in golf, it seems to work pretty well."

Perth native Brett Rumford shot an opening 68 and is yet to miss a cut in five events this season after missing a large chunk of 2015 due to having 30 centimetres of small intestine removed.

The 38 year old made seven birdies in his round and insists he is now fully recovered from his lengthy lay-off.

"I just feel fresh and I've been building up to this event," he said. "I've been playing a lot around here and this is definitely one that's been marked as a tournament that I want to perform well in."

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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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