Ross McGowan and Robin Roussel lead the D+D REAL Czech Challenge by one shot at the end of round one at Kaskáda Golf Resort.
The Englishman carded a round of 66, five under par – his lowest opening round since last year’s edition of the Czech event – and his lowest round on the European Challenge Tour this season. While Roussel, who has recorded three top ten results in three consecutive Challenge Tour events, shot a bogey-free round of 66 to join McGowan at the top of the leaderboard.
McGowan set the pace early on Thursday at Kaskáda Golf Resort, which is making its Challenge Tour debut this week, with a blemish free front nine, including four birdies.
He picked up another shot on the tenth hole to extend his advantage, and carded two further birdies amongst two bogeys, including a dropped shot on the difficult 18th, to lead in Brno on five under par.
Following his tied sixth finish at the Prague Golf Challenge two weeks ago, Roussel continued his impressive Czech form with his eighth sub-70 round of the Challenge Tour season.
Birdies on the seventh and eighth were followed up with three successive gains from the 12th hole as he surged up the leaderboard to join McGowan for a share of the lead at the end of day one.
“I’m very pleased,” said Roussel. “My game has been strong over the last few weeks. I’m driving the ball well and my iron play is pretty good and I’m putting well.
“13 was a great pitch to two metres. The 14th is a par three downhill, so I hit a six iron to within five metres and made a good putt. Then I hit a huge drive on the 15th and had 200 metres left and hit a five iron onto the green and had two putts for the birdie.
“Tomorrow will be easier for all the field and I think the scores will be lower with the weather getting warmer and becoming less windy. I don’t focus on the score. I just hit the best shots I can on each hole and see how it goes.”
“It’s been a better start than most of my opening rounds this year,” McGowan said. “I’m glad to put a good round together early in the tournament.
“On the whole I think I’ve been playing well recently, but today I putted solidly and drove the ball pretty well. I didn’t hit too many bad shots, although my approach into 18 was the worse shot I hit all day. On the whole everything was very solid, and it was nice to make a few birdies.”
The duo hold a one stroke advantage over a chasing quartet of Colombia’s Alvaro Arizabaleta, Magnus A Carlsson of Sweden, Spaniard Scott Fernandez and France’s Joël Stalter, who all produced rounds of 67, four under par. Czech Republic pair Petr Gal and Filip Mruzek lead the home charge following their rounds of 70, sitting four shots off the leaders.
The second round of the D+D REAL Czech Challenge will begin at 7.30am local time.