Gonnet claims clubhouse lead

4/25/2013 6:34:00 AM
Jean-Baptiste Gonnet   (Getty Images)
Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Getty Images)
France’s Jean-Baptiste Gonnet carded a five under par 67 to set the clubhouse pace as play resumed at the Ballantine’s Championship.

Play was suspended for two hours and 10 minutes for poor visibility during the opening day’s morning session, but Gonnet shrugged off the delay to compile a bogey-free round.

The 29 year old, whose best finish in seven years on The European Tour came when he was a runner-up in Scandinavia back in 2007, had completed an outward 32 before the break, then after eight straight pars on the back nine found the par five 18th green in two and two-putted for birdie.

“It was good to put my name up right away, because I haven't played like this for more than a year,” said Gonnet, who had broken 70 only once in 2013.

“I played pretty straight off the tee, and my putting was great; five under is a good score.”

English veteran David Howell was two back in the clubhouse after signing for a 69, while Swede Johan Edfors and Ricardo Gonzalez led the challenge of those still on the course on four under through 13 holes.

Argentina’s Gonzalez had got himself to five under but hooked his drive left into the hazard at the fourth – his 13th – and did well to salvage a bogey.

Defending champion Bernd Wiesberger, playing the back nine first, turned in a three under 33; however, the Austrian had a few putting problems after the resumption and slipped back to one under with one to play.

Italian Ryder Cup star Edoardo Molinari and South African former Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen were among the later starters whose tee times had been pushed back by two hours and 30 minutes.

Edfors, without a European Tour title since claiming three victories in his rookie season back in 2006, holed a ten footer at the 14th to join Gonnet and Australian Kieran Pratt in the clubhouse on five under.

England’s Matthew Baldwin was on the same mark with two to play, but Oosthuizen was looming large after four birdies in his first four holes.

The World Number Seven played a great bunker shot at the first, struck his approach to six feet on the second, holed from 12 feet at the third and 20 feet at the next.