An intriguing first day at the Telenet Trophy was cut short after play was suspended at 18:04 local time due to thunder and lightning, with Benn Barham, Florian Fritsch and John Parry all tied for the clubhouse lead on five under par.
Play will resume at 7:30am Friday morning local time. The postponement came just as England’s Andy Sullivan was threatening to take a two shot lead into the second round as he was seven under par through 13 holes.
Earlier in the day, a superb round of 66 which included no less than seven birdies helped Fritsch to the outright clubhouse lead at Ravenstein Royal Golf Club of Belgium, in Tervuren outside Brussels.
The German, playing in just his second Challenge Tour event of the year after losing his card on The European Tour last year, put his success down to an ability to bounce-back from adversity and that stood him in good stead right from the off after he bogeyed the opening hole.
He followed that up with two successive birdies and again he made up for a bogey on the seventh by birdieing the next hole. The back nine was far more solid for the 26 year old as the putts started to roll in and he signed for a five under par 66.
“I started really ugly with a big snap hook but I found it and somehow made bogey,” said Fritsch. “Then I stiffed a nine iron on two to a few feet and then birdied the third, where my playing partner Paul Dwyer actually had a hole in one.
“I just kept plodding along then and saved a few pars and came back nicely after my bogey on seven, with a birdie. That’s something I guess I've been doing better recently; bouncing back.
“On the back nine I got the putter working and I didn’t drive it wayward at all, hit the greens and got a few putts and used my chances when I had wedges into the green. I actually holed a chip shot on the 17th so that was nice to go from a possible bogey to a birdie. I'm really pleased with five under.”
The English pair of Barham and Parry joined Fritsch later in the day with Barham’s round of 66 coming thanks to an incredible back nine which included six birdies, two bogeys and a par.
“I played well to start with, I just didn’t make much of it but then I got on a bit of a good run around the turn,” said the two-time Challenge Tour winner. “Then I just kept hitting my short irons close, to within 10 or 12 feet, and holing the putts. I hit two bad shots and they both cost me, which is a shame because sometimes you can get away with it.
“It’s such a good golf course here though, that it does figure you out and when you hit a bad shot you get punished and that’s what happened.”Parry’s day was a little steadier as he reached the turn in three under thanks to three consecutive birdies from the third hole, before three more birdies on the back nine were offset by just a single dropped shot at the 17th.