Sebastián García Rodríguez smashed the course record at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel and Country Club courtesy of a ten under par opening 62 at the Hero Open, on a day when Miguel Ángel Jiménez proved the ultimate showman by carding a superb 64 on his record 707th appearance on the European Tour.
All eyes were on Jiménez heading into the first day at Forest of Arden Marriott Golf and Country Club as he broke the long-held record held by Sam Torrance for the most appearances in the history of the European Tour.
And the 56-year-old did not disappoint as he carded a flawless eight under round which left him just two shots back from the lead held by his Spanish compatriot García Rodríguez, and alongside another fellow countryman Pablo Larrazábal in a share of second place – whose 64 came despite a lost ball at the 14th hole.
Welshman Oliver Farr was a shot further back on seven under par while Rasmus Højgaard, runner up at last week’s Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood, was one of three players in a share of fifth place on six under.
Sebastián García Rodríguez: “For me it was incredible today. The key was the driver and the putts. It was just so close to the hole all the time with my putting. It’s amazing. It’s my lowest score on the European Tour. It’s incredible, it’s my dream to play on this tour. The course is perfect, the range is lovely. Miguel (Ángel Jiménez), for me, is the best. He’s the boss.”
Miguel Ángel Jiménez: “It’s been a wonderful day, eight under par. Beautiful summer day and especially now on the 18th here with all my colleagues. Very emotional. I enjoy everything about my life here.
“This is not the first time I’ve said it, it’s a way of living. It’s not about business, it’s a way of living. Golf is my life. You never remember any bad moments. I cannot describe my day, you have to be inside my skin.
“This is a wonderful life, golf. You never remember the bad times. There are days you make 80, make a bad score, but you play golf. You can understand that you’re not going to be in the perfect mood and not make the perfect score every time. You can have a bad game, but not a bad day, that’s the difference.”
Pablo Larrazábal: “I lost a ball on 14, so to shoot eight under with a lost ball is probably the lowest round of my European Tour career. I know I’ve shot nine under somewhere, but with a lost ball I’m quite happy.
“Raúl (caddie) and I took a lot of positives from last week. I hit a lot of great shots, the mistakes were a little bit wild. I made a lot of silly mistakes. The birdie run was there today and I like these greens. I was really happy when I arrived on Monday. I’m happy for Sebastian (Garcia Rodriguez as well. I saw he shot ten under, I’m happy for him. It’s going to be another three days of fun.”