Calmels on cloud nine in Madrid

24/04/2013 20:02:00
Francois Calmels  (Getty Images)
Francois Calmels (Getty Images)
François Calmels carded a scorching course record 63 in the first round of the Challenge de Madrid to soar into a three shot lead on nine under par.

The Frenchman, a winner on the European Challenge Tour at the 2009 Telenet Trophy, could even afford a bogey at the 16th after going ten under par through 14 holes at El Encín Golf Hotel in the Spanish capital.

The 31 year old opened with a birdie but two pars followed, giving little indication of the run on which he was about to embark.

Back to back birdies at the par five fourth and par three fifth took him to three under par before a par at the sixth was followed by five successive birdies from the seventh, taking him to the 12th tee on eight under par. He gained two more shots at the 13th and 14th before dropping his only shot of the day.

“It is definitely my best round in competition,” said Calmels, whose girlfriend is Ladies European Tour player Jade Schaeffer. “I drove the ball well, hit good iron shots, managed to hole all of my putts inside 15 feet. I didn’t make any mistakes, in fact the bogey was probably the hole where I had my best shot of the day.

“Yesterday my friends told me to go out and play nine holes and I decided not to because I had such a good feeling after my Monday practice round I did not want to change it. So I just walked with them and chipped a bit.

“Sometimes you play great but scores do not come along, but today they did. Everything just went great.“

Rhys Davies, a winner on The European Tour, was one of the players three shots back in tied second as he signed for a bogey-free round of 66.

The Welshman has been struggling for form of late but signalled a return to the kind of golf which earned him two Challenge Tour victories in 2009 on the way to graduating for The European Tour, where he made an immediate impact with a win at the 2010 Trophée Hassan II.

“I played great today and did everything right to be honest,“ said the 27 year old. “I hit solid putts, a few went in and a few stayed out.

“It is only one round but I am really pleased, it’s a good start. It's been a long while since I have done that and hopefully things will start to come back.

“I am working with my old coach, David Llewllyn, again. We have not made any changes to my game, we are just working on playing like I know I can play and concentrate on improving all the time.”

Alongside Davies were Jens Dantorp of Sweden, Englishman Sam Hutsby and the best Spaniard after the opening day, Diego Suazo, who carded five birdies in six holes during a stunning front nine.

Meanwhile, 2012 Amateur Champion Alan Dunbar got his professional debut off to a strong start with a four under par opening round of 68, leaving him in tied 14th spot.

“It was a great start as a pro,” said the Northern Irishman. “I played really well. I hit lots of good shots and it was really nice.

“I hit a couple of wrong clubs on the par threes that cost me some bogeys but I managed to finish strongly. I am very happy with my start. I felt very comfortable, hit good shots and enjoyed it a lot.”