Thursday, 14 September 2017
Bernd Wiesberger  (Getty Images)
Bernd Wiesberger (Getty Images)

Bernd Wiesberger defied windy conditions at The Dutch to card an opening five under par 66 at the KLM Open and share the lead with Richard Finch on a weather-affected opening day.

Austrian Wiesberger carded seven birdies and two bogeys in Spijk, while England’s Finch shot his lowest European Tour round for two years.

Gusting winds and driving rain battered the morning field and, just moments after Finch signed his scorecard, play was suspended due to those adverse conditions.

As the rain continued to fall, tournament organisers were left with no choice but to suspend play for the day, with half of the field set to return on Friday morning to complete their first rounds.

Starting on the back nine, Wiesberger birdied the tenth and 11th and further gains followed on the 14th and 18th – both par fives – as the 31 year old turned in a four under par 32.

The four-time European Tour winner made a ten-footer at the second and, after a dropped shot on the fifth, a five-footer at the sixth before holing from eight feet at the seventh. 

Wiesberger had a second bogey of the day on the ninth, his last, after leaking his wedge approach right and failing to get up and down.



“The conditions were really tough out there and although I gave away a couple of easy shots I am really happy with the score and the way I played today,” said Wiesberger.

“I putted nicely today and controlled the ball flight well. I think I only missed three or four greens which was pretty good in these conditions.

“So overall I am happy with the start. I have been playing well recently but maybe not getting the results I feel I should have been getting so hopefully I can change that soon.”

The 40 year old Finch won twice in 2008, but lost his card in 2015 and made his first cut for 20 months in Denmark last month.

He carded six birdies, including four in a row from the 13th, against a solitary bogey on the 11th. 

Finch said: “It was important to get off to a good start today because when you are playing on conditions like this you know it’s going to be a battle so to start with two birdies was huge – it felt like I had a bit of credit in the bank.

“I managed to hang in and finish well so I am delighted.

“It’s been a while since I have been at the top of a leaderboard to be honest. Obviously I missed last year through injury and haven’t really got it going since I came back but today was very encouraging and I hope to be able to keep that going for the next few days.”

At five under the pair led by one from Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren and China’s Ashun Wu, with Lagergren’s compatriots Johan Edfors and Pontus Widegren alongside England’s Matt Wallace, France’s Matthieu Pavon and home favourite Maarten Lafeber on three under. 

 
 

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1WATTEL, RomainFRA18-15
2CONNELLY, AustinCAN18-14
T3PEPPERELL, EddieENG18-13
T3WALTERS, JustinRSA18-13
T3COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-13
T3HEISELE, SebastianGER18-13

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