Marcel Schneider carded an eight under par 62 to tie the course record and set the pace on day one of the Euram Bank Open at Golf Club Adamstal.
The German posted six birdies and an eagle, without a blemish, to race into a three-shot lead after the first round with five players, including Italian duo Enrico Di Nitto and Lorenzo Scalise, his nearest challengers on five under par.
Borja Virto set the course record at 62 during the inaugural Euram Bank Open last year and Schneider was pleased to place his name alongside the Spaniard’s on the honours board after carefully navigating the final few holes when the wind began to swirl.
“I actually played really well,” he said. “I was in control of the ball and I’ve putted really well for a few weeks now. I was really happy to see all the work has come to the course now.
“On 17 I struggled a little bit. I don’t know if it was the wind but it was downwind and you don’t want to be long on that hole so I left it way short and then hacked the chip. The wind confused me a little bit, but overall I think it’s still playable.
“It’s always important to keep the bogeys off the card, or keep it to as few as possible, so I’m happy that I managed to do that today.”
The picturesque course in Lower Austria is one of the most aesthetically pleasing on the Challenge Tour International Schedule and it is a track which Schneider enjoys and finds scoreable, if the ball remains in play.
“I was not thinking about a score before the round,” he said. “You get a couple of chances if you keep the ball in play, but you still need to make those birdies – well, six birdies and one eagle for me!
“Apart from the walking, I really like this golf course. I like the views, I like the holes and the set-up of the course is great. I really like it.
“I’m not thinking about tomorrow just now. Let’s see what tomorrow brings; it might be rainy, it might be stormy, I don’t know, but I’ll be ready.”
Di Nitto and Scalise, who lost in a play-off to Matthew Jordan at the Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil last month, share second place on five under par with Andalucía – Costa del Sol Match Play 9 runner-up Ugo Coussaud, two-time European Tour winner Felipe Aguilar and Calum Hill, who was the low Scot at last week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.
Behind the quintet on five under par are a group of six players on four under, including Nicolai von Dellingshausen who triumphed at Golf Club Adamstal in 2017 on the Pro Golf Tour.
The second round will begin at 7.30 am local time on Friday, with Schneider’s round getting under way at 2.25 pm local time.