Dutchman Will Besseling has a one shot lead after the first round of the Credit Suisse Challenge with an eight under par 64 on a day of low scoring.
The 24 year old racked up eight birdies at Golf Sempachersee in Hildisrieden, Switzerland – six of which came on the back nine – to lead Italian Lorenzo Gagli and Englishman Charlie Ford, while a group of eight players are on six under, including Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen, who won The Princess in Sweden a fortnight ago.
Sweden’s Oscar Floren, Scotland’s Andrew McArthur, Welshman Stuart Manley, Englishmen James Ruth and Daniel Brooks, Nicolas Sulzer of Switzerland and Charles-Edouard Russo of France are all tied for fourth, with ten players another shot back.
Besseling was pleased to see some hard work on his game finally pay off with a low score. He said: “I’m feeling very good and it’s great to start with a 64 as I’ve been struggling this season. I worked really hard on the physical condition over the winter and started with a new coach and it’s beginning to feel very good. I’ve had to be very patient.”
On his round, Besseling added: “I was two under after nine and going along nicely and giving myself chances. Then I really got going on the back nine and holed some putts. I reached the green on both the par fives in two and two-putted and the rest were putts inside three metres, apart from the 18th when I chipped in from the fringe at the back of the green using my three wood.
“I didn’t think there would be such low scoring after playing a practice round, but there has been a little rain which has made a difference – it’s a bit easier. The balls are stopping very quickly on the green, even with a wood, and the greens are soft. Of course, you still have to hit it close and hole some putts, which is what I’ll be hoping to continue doing over the next three rounds.”
Floren has been in contention the last two weeks, first at The Princess and then the ALLIANZ Golf Open de Lyon, but a poor final round on both occasions has been costly. He said: “I’m just doing everything I can to maintain this form and hopefully if I’m patient it will come eventually. I reckon the less I think about winning, the better I’ll do. If I think about it too much it will create more pressure.
“I’ve been playing great the last few weeks so I’m just trying to keep that going and not do anything differently.”
Manley might have been further up the leaderboard had a miscalculation not cost him a double bogey at the par four fifth.
“I played okay and putted nicely,” he said. “I just had one bad hole where I got my yardages wrong and ended up hitting over the back of the green into the thick rough. I’d hit such a good drive as well, so it’s very annoying – and it’s the second time I’ve done that this season.
“I don’t see any reason why I can’t win this week. It’s what we all play for, to win, but I’m sure a lot of the guys are thinking the same thing. I’ve not had a great season so far and it would be nice to get a bit of money and move up the Rankings.”
Russo, who eagled the par five 17th when he hit his second shot to four metres, said: “I didn’t drive the ball so well but hit some good shots and was particularly good with my two and three irons. I played well in Lyon (in the ALLIANZ Golf Open de Lyon) last weekend but shot level par in the last two rounds so I knew I just had to be patient and a good score would come along. And today it has.”
Ruth said: “I got off to a great start and was five under after nine holes. I gave myself a few more chances on the front nine but missed a couple of short-ish putts which was a little annoying. But it’s a great start and it’s always good to have no bogeys on your card.”