A “rollercoaster ride” barely begins to do justice to Matthew Nixon’s opening round in the ALLIANZ Golf Open Toulouse Metropole, which had more highs and lows than a Big Dipper – especially on the back nine.
Nixon’s day began in tumultuous fashion, as he pulled his opening drive into the water and did well to salvage a bogey.
His first birdies of the day arrived in a burst from the fifth hole, before a bogey at the eighth hole took the wind out of the Englishman’s sails and moved him back to level par.
At that point, Nixon could have been forgiven for thinking his round might slip away, as indeed so many have in a season which has been blighted by inconsistency, with just one top five finish – in the English Challenge – to show for his efforts. In short, it has been a campaign short on inspiration, if not perspiration.
But Nixon, who has successfully progressed through the Qualifying School for the past two years, drew on all his reserves of Northern grit and, despite a double bogey at the 12th hole, raced home in just 31 strokes courtesy of no fewer than seven birdies – with four in a row from the 15th delivering a coup de grâce.
Speaking afterwards, a breathless Nixon said: “I don’t really know where to start with that! I felt good coming into the week, but then got off to the worst possible start. After that I recovered with some decent golf, but also threw some very average golf in there – and every time I hit a bad shot it seemed to have catastrophic consequences!
“The double on the 12th came out of nowhere really, but after that things started to go my way. I didn’t force it or go chasing a score, but luckily I got on a bit of a run and everything seemed to drop. That hasn’t happened all season really, so it made for a very nice change and I’ll certainly take it.
“I’ve been hitting it nicely for the last two years really, but struggling to convert the chances I’ve been making. Hopefully I’ve turned the corner now, although I won’t be getting ahead of myself because I know how cruel this game can be. As soon as you start thinking you’ve cracked it, it has a habit of turning round and biting you!”