Daniel Vancsik (Dean Mouhtaropoulos)
Kristoffer Broberg’s magical month continued with a round of 63 on the opening day of the Rolex Trophy, but for once the sensational Swede was upstaged by Argentine Daniel Vancsik, who equalled the course record with a stunning 62.
Despite having to use a three-wood off the tee after he broke his driver last week and a replacement failed to arrive in Geneva in time, Vancsik posted the lowest round of his professional career courtesy of ten birdies in a flawless performance worthy of the stunning scenery at Golf Club de Genève, in the Swiss capital.
In searing heat reminiscent of his native Buenos Aires, Vancsik reached the turn in 32 and raced home in a mere 30 strokes, thanks chiefly to a run of four successive birdies from the 15th hole.
Just one of his ten birdie putts, on the 17th hole, was from outside ten feet, which gives a fair indication of Vancsik’s masterful display from tee to green.
He said: “My driver will be arriving tonight, but after the way I played I don’t think I’ll put it in the bag! My three wood’s pretty long and the course is quite short, so I didn’t really miss my driver today. I played very, very well – I only missed one green, on the sixth hole. But I got up and down for par, and after that the game felt very easy.
“I made a lot of chances today, but that doesn’t always mean you’re going to shoot a low score. But I putted very well, and that does usually mean you’re going to shoot a low score! I’ve been playing better and better the last seven or eight weeks, but I haven’t been putting very well. So I’ve been working very hard on the practice green, and today you saw the results.
“It was a lot of fun out there – I really like this tournament, it’s definitely one of my favourites of the year. I really enjoy coming here, because it’s nice and relaxed, Geneva is a great city and the course is beautiful – it’s so green, it’s like playing in a really nice garden! The people are very friendly and they treat you so well, so I enjoy every minute of the week.”
Broberg took his cumulative score to 57 under par for the month of August, having won the Finnish Challenge with 15 under par and the Norwegian Challenge on 22 under par, before finishing in a tie for third place on 11 under at last week’s ECCO Tour Championship hosted by Thomas Björn & Mercedes-Benz.
Broberg’s stroke average for his last 13 rounds of golf is a quite staggering 67.3 and for the entire season is 68.5, which comfortably puts him ahead of South African Louis Oosthuizen, who currently tops the Stroke Average category on The European Tour with 69.92.
On a glorious opening morning of the elite 42-man event, Broberg picked up where he left off in Denmark last week, notching seven birdies and an eagle three at the eighth hole to take second place on nine under par.
Denmark’s Andreas Hartø, who currently shares third place with Frenchman Alex Kaleka and American Peter Uihlein on eight under par, was only half-joking when he said that Broberg was an outside contender to claim one of Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal’s two wildcard picks next Monday.
Certainly, if Broberg carries his current form onto The European Tour next season – or even as early as next week, if he were to claim his third Challenge Tour title in Geneva – a debut victory on the top tier of European golf would be well within his grasp.
Broberg was refusing to think that far ahead, but the 26 year old was nonetheless delighted to keep his red hot streak going.
He said: “I hit my wedges very close today, which is the key to a low score on this course. I holed a long putt on the 11th hole, from eight metres, but other than that I was putting it close with my irons. It’s hard to say why I’m playing so well at the moment – my confidence is very high, so I feel like I have a good chance of winning the tournament every time I tee up. The guys are good out here so it’s not easy to win, but when you hit a lot of fairways you give yourself a good chance. Hopefully I can keep it going for the next three days.”
Former World Amateur Number One Uihlein carded a blemish-free round of 64 to continue his fine run of recent form.
Kaleka, courtesy of nine birdies and a solitary bogey, and Hartø, with seven birdies and an eagle, joined Uihlein on eight under par.
The top two players in the Challenge Tour Rankings, England’s Gary Lockerbie and Sweden’s Magnus Carlsson, head a five strong group of players tied for sixth place on seven under par.