The beginning of play was delayed by three and a half hours at the prestigious Royal Waterloo Golf Club due to heavy rain but not even a further two-hour suspension in play midway through Goddard’s round would distract him as he flourished on the back nine.The 25 year old resumed before embarking on a stunning run of four consecutive birdies from the fifth hole, his 14th, to add to the five birdies on his front nine before a bogey denied him the chance to take a two-shot lead going into the second day.
While many groups are yet to finish their first rounds on day two, Goddard was simply delighted with how all facets of his game came together in one thoroughly enjoyable round.“I started really well with a birdie on ten,” said the former Walker Cup player. “Then I had a bogey at the 11th but I played really solid after that, made plenty of birdies and even missed a couple of good chances.
“I'm really pleased with the way I played. At the (par five) fifth I was tempted to go to the green in two but I laid up and it was a good decision because I made birdie, then I chipped in at six with a nice shot up the tier.“I holed a 15-foot putt at the seventh and hit a good approach into the eight to about 10 foot. I didn’t force it today and was nice and relaxed so it was good.
“It was the best round I've had on the Challenge Tour. It’s a really nice feeling, especially after a poor start to the season. It’s good to get off and running.”
Goddard had special praise for the pristine Royal Waterloo Golf Club, the home club of Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts.“It’s a beautiful course,” he said. “It is definitely the best we've played this year, in my opinion. It’s probably one of the best I’ve ever played and considering the amount of rain we had, the greens have been solid so it’s great.”
Goddard was one shot clear of Finland’s Roope Kakko, who is a man in form having already notched up two top tens this year - one at last week’s Madeira Islands Open – Portugal – BPI on The European Tour, where money counted toward the Challenge Tour, and another at the Challenge de Madrid.
A six under par opening round of 65 was enough to move him into outright second place and he was happy to maintain his momentum after an impressive final round 68 at Madeira.
“On the last round last week I found something and I was striking the ball really well and that same feeling is still going,” said the 31 year old. “It’s funny, it seems the guys who play well on Sunday seem to play well the following week so I just tried to do the same things.“The key today was the driver. I was hitting it well and the rough is pretty tricky, especially with the rain and on the long holes.
“I was pretty pleased with the way I was striking my irons and I was obviously putting well, when you play in six under you need to be putting well.
“I only missed two fairways, which is a lot for me. I don’t think I've ever hit so many fairways and the ones I missed were just on the first cut.”Martin Sell of England was a shot further back in third place, with round two still to finish, after a five under par 66 while American Dodge Kemmer, Adrian Otaegui of Spain and another Englishman James Ruth were tied forth on four under.