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Bairstow takes early Swiss Challenge lead

Bairstow takes early Swiss Challenge lead

Sam Bairstow made the most of calm conditions at Golf Saint Apollinaire to lead by one stroke on a low scoring opening day of the Swiss Challenge.


The Englishman mixed one bogey with six birdies and an eagle to post a seven under par round of 65 and lead by one ahead of South African Brandon Stone, Italian Matteo Manassero and Robin Petersson from Sweden.

The 25-year-old, who claimed a maiden European Challenge Tour victory at the Farmfoods Scottish Challenge supported by the R&A last month, was pleased with his driving on day one and thinks that will be key throughout the week.

“The greens are soft so if you’re hitting it alright and putting well, you can put a decent score together,” he said.

“I drove the ball really nicely. I was hitting it quite long and pretty straight to be honest. You’ve got to keep it out of the rough around here though, and if you do that you’ve got plenty of chances.

“The weather has been good here all week and it’s very calm. If you can get it in the fairway, you’ve got some short irons in. Even on the par threes, they’re quite gettable.

“Hopefully I can keep that going. Not a lot will change for tomorrow. I’ll just be trying to do more of what I’ve done today for the rest of the week.

Bairstow is currently 20th on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, and with the top 20 at the conclusion of the season-ending Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final supported by the R&A earning promotion to the DP World Tour, he could all but secure his graduation with a positive result this week.

“Obviously you want to finish in the top 20,” he added. “You can’t really play thinking about it though. If you do, you’re not going to play well, so I’ll just try to do what I usually do and see where I finish at the end of the season.”

Nine players share fifth place on five under par including Italian duo Lorenzo Scalise and Filippo Celli, Joel Sjöholm and Adam Blomme from Sweden, Zimbabwean Benjamin Follett-Smith, Welshman Jack Davidson, German Velten Meyer, Yan Wei Liu from China, England’s Jamie Rutherford and Dane Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen.

The second round gets under way at 7:50am local time with Bairstow teeing off alongside Italian Andrea Pavan and Scotsman Euan Walker at 8:40am.

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