Bryce Easton and Jeong weon Ko share the first round lead at the Swiss Challenge after posting six under par rounds of 66 at Golf Saint Apollinaire.
The leading duo both carded six birdies in bogey-free rounds to move to the top of the leaderboard and one-shot clear of Spaniard Eduard Rousaud and Scotland’s Bradley Neil, who share third on five under par.
Easton was delighted with his opening effort in Folgensbourg and believes accuracy off the tee is paramount with the rough being so thick this week.
“I’m very happy with my round today,” he said. “It’s a good test this week with the rough being up and the greens being firm. I thought anything under par would have been a good score. The tee shot is crucial and if you miss the fairway, you will get penalised for it which is how it should be.
“I’m trying to kick on with a few events remaining in the season. I’ve put myself into good positions this year but haven’t managed to do much with it so I’m really trying to finish the season strong.
“I’ve had a few top tens but to finish in the top 20 you need to be finishing second or winning tournaments. On the European Challenge Tour you are only ever one week away from moving into the top 20 and I still believe I can get my DP World Tour card.”
Co-leader Ko has been in impressive form in recent weeks with four top-ten finishes in his last six Challenge Tour starts, and he was pleased to carry that positive momentum into the first round of the Swiss Challenge.
“It was a very good round today,” he said. “On the front nine the pin positions were quite tricky, so I tried to play quite conservatively and then I managed to take advantage of my opportunities on the back nine.
“My dad is caddying for me this week and my mum is here supporting me, so it was really special to be out there as a team. I’ve been working hard with my coach in recent weeks and my game is in a strong place.”
Englishman Daniel Brown, Denmark’s Martin Simonsen, New Zealander Daniel Hillier, Ireland’s John Murphy and Swede Mikael Lundberg share fifth place on four under par, while seven players share tenth on three under including English duo Alfie Plant and George Bloor.
The second round will get under way at 8:00am local time, with Easton teeing it up at 8:10am and Ko at 8:50am.