Esteban Toledo recorded his lowest round in Europe to take the lead at the end of day one at the WINSTONgolf Senior Open after an eight under par 64.
The Mexican, making his debut appearance at WINSTONgolf in Vorbeck, made ten birdies in his round of 64, despite not having played the course in competition before. This included five successive gains from the 12th hole to lead by two shots after the opening round.
The signs for a good round were there to see after the 56-year-old started with three birdies in-a-row. A bogey followed on the next hole but two gains in his next three holes saw him make the turn at four under par.
A dropped shot on the par-three 11th could have upset Toledo’s rhythm, instead it spurred him on, recording five consecutive birdies to race up the leaderboard and claim top spot at the end of day one.
With a lead of two shots and ten birdies on the card, Toledo was thrilled with his opening day’s work and to be playing at the WINSTONgolf Senior Open.
“This is the best round I’ve shot in Europe,” he said. “I made a lot of putts and hit the ball pretty straight. I made two bogeys, a three putt on 11 and got the wrong club on the fifth, but the rest of them I never put myself in a position to make bogey.
“I think playing with Paul (Wesselingh) and the amateurs kept me relaxed which really helped me. I kept the ball on the fairway and hit a lot of great second shots and made a lot of putts.
“This golf course is beautiful, and I want to thank Erwin and Langer Sports Marketing team for inviting me because I received a tournament invite for this week. All my life I have wanted to come to Germany and I’m really happy to be here.
“It’s a beautiful golf course which Mr Pon has helped create. I’m having a great time in Germany, but I know there are a lot of good guys behind me, so I’ve got to step it up over the next two days because there is still a long way to go. I hope I can win here in Europe because I’ve never done that in my life.”
Two shots behind Toledo and hoping to put the pressure on over the next 36 holes is a chasing pack of four players. American Dan Olsen, Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, last month’s Senior Open Hauts de France by Jean van de Velde winner Peter Baker, and 2012 Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal, who recorded his first sub-70 round on the Staysure Tour, all signed for a six under par round of 66.
Home favourite Bernhard Langer, looking to claim victory on home soil for the first time since 2001, is two strokes further back at four under par.
The second round of the WINSTONgolf Senior Open begins at 9:00am local time with Toledo starting his second round at 9:50am.
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