Hartø was one shot clear with the afternoon starters out on the course after a morning of Scandinavian success as four Danes and one Swede occupied the top seven spots on the leaderboard.Another Dane, Anders Schmidt Hansen, was in second place after a six under par 66, while his compatriot Rasmus Hjelm and Sweden’s Steven Jeppesen were in tied third place and Morten Orum Madsen of Denmark was a shot further back on four under par, alongside Bernd Ritthammer of Germany and Scotland’s Andrew McArthur.
It was Hartø though, who headed the field, as the Copenhagen native returned to the Challenge Tour with great success, after competing at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last week.“It was just a really good round,” he said. “I missed only one green in regulation today and three under regulation so it was really solid and I got up and down the one time I missed the green.
“I have been playing well. I played well tee to green in Scotland last week but I putted badly so I drew a line on my ball to help line up the putt and I made some good putts today. I made the ones you have to make to get a round going but no really long ones.“It was nice to see that the putting was working and that was the main thing today. Even though I missed the cut last week by one it was a good experience and I’ve mixed the putting up a little so I took a good game here and improved my putting.”
Anders Schmidt Hansen also had a bogey-free round at Kunetická Hora Golf Club and he was happy to be in contention after a mixed season which has seen a marked improvement since a tied fifth place finish at the ECCO Tour Championship hosted by Thomas Björn and Mercedes-Benz in his home country in August.“It was a really solid round of golf,” said Hansen. “I wasn’t hitting it very close in my first nine holes but I hit a lot of greens so there were no faults at all.
“My driving was good. I think I hit almost every fairway and on the back nine my irons were really good. I was hitting it close and it could have been a better score on the back nine, I really had some good chances.
“Recently I've played well, since Denmark. I have been playing well and I could have done better in Catalunya, where I was tied 15th.“I need good results this week and next week. I needed some good results in the second half of the season after a bad first half.”