Hansen leads Danish dominance in Copenhagen
Dane Joachim B Hansen continued his rich vein of form to take a share of the lead on home soil in the first round of the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Challenge hosted by Royal Golf Club.
The 22 year old, who has been one of the most consistent performers on the Challenge Tour this year, opened with a four under par 67, which was matched by playing partner and three-time Challenge Tour winner in 2012 Kristoffer Broberg of Sweden.
It has been a superb season for Danish players and they continued the theme with some promising rounds in the capital, Rasmus Hjelm signing for a 68 and Andreas Hartø carding a 69 to boost his chances of overhauling Gary Lockerbie, whom he trails by €125, at the top of the Rankings.
The trio of Broberg, Hansen and Scotsman Scott Henry, who had a 69, was by far the most productive of the day, however, with not a single dropped shot between them.
“All three of us played very well today and holed some great putts for par,” said Hansen, who was runner-up behind compatriot Hartø last week and tied third the week before. “That always helps, because if one guy is playing really well, it pulls the others along too.
“I played very nicely and didn’t make any mistakes. I’m hitting the ball much better today than I have done in the last few weeks, for whatever reason, so I’m very happy.
“The course is very tough from the tee and on the greens. You really have to hit it to the right spot on the greens otherwise you have some very difficult putts.
“I played in a pro-am here last year, but I don’t know the course well. I like it a lot though. It has been an excellent season for me and it would be great to finish off with two good results.”
Broberg had a sensational run of form earlier in the season, winning three times in four weeks to earn instant promotion to The European Tour, but has found it tougher going at the top tier, missing three cuts in four appearances.
“I’ve been in bad shape the last few weeks playing on The European Tour,” he said. “The step up hasn’t been that hard, but I’ve just not been playing well at all. So it was nice to come back to Scandinavia and play a good round.
“This course is tough, which makes it even more satisfying to post a good score. You have to be straight off the tee, which is one of my strengths. We all played very well and spurred each other along.”
For many, this is the final event of the season, as only the top 45 in the Rankings come Sunday qualify for next week’s Apulia San Domenico Grand Final. The event not only offers a lucrative prize fund of €330,000, but the chance to jump into the top 20 in the Rankings and thus earn a European Tour card for 2013.
Englishman Steven Tiley, currently 47th, did his chances of making it to the season finale no harm with a level par 71, while Finland’s Roope Kakko, in 45th place, made a promising start with a 68.