Rourke van der Spuy’s sparkling 64 in the opening round of the Prague Golf Challenge earned him a one-shot lead on eight under par in the Czech capital.
In perfect scoring conditions at Prague City Golf, the South African did not drop a shot all round, picking up his eighth birdie on his final hole to move ahead of Steven Brown, Bryce Easton, Rhys Enoch and Julien Guerrier, all of whom are tied for second place.
Van der Spuy has not made a cut on the Challenge Tour in his three appearances on this year’s Road to Oman, but some good results on his native Sunshine Tour suggest that the Durbanite has the game to contend at this level.
“It was a good day,” said the 27 year old. “It started off pretty strong, I made a few good putts throughout the round which helped keep the momentum going, but all in all it was good ball striking and luckily the putts went in as well.
“It’s a course that I’ve been waiting for all season really, it suits my eye and it’s pretty forgiving off the tee, though the back nine is a bit tighter – I managed to play that in five under par, which was nice.
“The approach today was actually fairly mellow – I just wanted to hit fairways, hit greens and wait for the putts to drop, and I only had 26 putts out there today so that certainly helped.
“A good result would really help my season. It’s a case of waiting for your chance, because one good week can really turn the tide, get the momentum going and really change your season, so hopefully I can get myself back in the mix of things.
“Tomorrow will be the same approach, just fairways and greens – I know we’re expecting a bit of rain but I’ll just get a good night’s sleep and see how the course is playing in the morning.”
Englishman Brown’s bogey-free 65 was a continuation of his fine recent form, with two top fives in his past three events, with France’s Guerrier chasing a second win of the season following his victory in last month’s Hauts de France Golf Open.
South African Easton was another not to drop a shot, while Wales’ Enoch continued the good form that earlier this week saw him narrowly miss out at Final Qualifying for The Open Championship.
A large group of players are one shot further back in a share of sixth place, including Robin Sciot-Siegrist, who made an albatross when he holed his three wood approach to the 13th hole from 223 metres.
Alongside the Frenchman on six under par are Joachim B Hansen, Bradley Neil, Pedro Oriol, Garrick Porteous, Ricardo Santos, Steven Tiley and Peter Valasek.
Scores after Round 1:
64 R Van Der Spuy (RSA) ,
65 R Enoch (Wal) , J Guerrier (Fra) , B Easton (RSA) , S Brown (Eng) ,
66 P Valasek (Svk) , J Hansen (Den) , P Oriol (Esp) , R Santos (Por) , G Porteous (Eng) , B Neil (Sco) , S Tiley (Eng) , R Sciot-Siegrist (Fra) ,
67 T Linard (Fra) , S Hutsby (Eng) , J Harrison (Eng) , S Soderberg (Swe) ,
68 J Edfors (Swe) , J Senior (Eng) , L Galliano (Sui) , O Lindell (Fin) , D Fox (Aus) , J Lando Casanova (Fra) , O Rozner (Fra) , L Gagli (Ita) , M Wiegele (Aut) , J Dantorp (Swe) , T Tree (Eng) , N Lindstrom (Swe) , N Cullen (Aus) , J Sarasti (Esp) ,
69 D Law (Sco) , H Joannes (Bel) , R Hjelm (Den) , C Bezuidenhout (RSA) , D Papadatos (Aus) , R Saxton (Ned) , M Schwab (Aut) , J McLeary (Sco) , C Aronsen (Nor) , B Hafthorsson (Isl) , J Arnoy (Nor) , J Pastor (Esp) , C Mivis (Bel) , M Delpodio (Ita) , R Evans (Eng) , C Griffiths (Eng) , C Del Moral (Esp) , M Schneider (Ger) , E España (Fra) , M Trappel (Aut) , T Pulkkanen (Fin) , P Howard (Eng) , L Johnson (Eng) , B Hellgren (Swe) , G Kocken (Swe) ,
70 D Gaunt (Aus) , S Surry (Eng) , B Paolini (USA) , S Benson (Eng) , K Johannessen (Nor) , T Ferrer (Esp) , K Phelan (Irl) , S Fernandez (Esp) , B Rusch (Sui) , A Rai (Eng) , P Mejow (Ger) , D Berna Manzanares (Esp) , J Cafourek (Cze) , G Boyd (Eng) , J Parry (Eng) , V Østerby (Den) ,
71 M Frost (Eng) , A Saddier (Fra) , C Koepka (USA) , R James (Wal) , M Iten (Sui) , E Dubois (Fra) , C Ford (Eng) , D Huizing (Ned) , R Dinwiddie (Eng) , F Bergamaschi (Ita) , A Maestroni (Ita) , M Eggenberger (Sui) , S Einhaus (Ger) , D Suchan (Cze) , T Cruz (Por) , O Lieser (Cze) , R Davies (Wal) , S Connor (Eng) , A Turner (Eng) , S Jeppesen (Swe) , D Van Driel (Ned) , J Thomson (Eng) , W Harrold (Eng) , J Suri (USA) , G King (Eng) , C Sordet (Fra) , B Åkesson (Swe) , L Tintera (Cze) , A Tadini (Ita) ,
72 H Casey (Eng) , D Foos (Ger) , J Vecchi Fossa (Ita) , S Piaget (Mon) , R Kellett (Sco) , A Schwartz (Fra) , H Rönneblad (Swe) , F Mruzek (Cze) , J Maurer (Aut) , N Ravano (Ita) , M Kramer (Ger) , E Van Rooyen (RSA) , C Sharvin (Nir) , A Altuntas (Tur) , J Makitalo (Fin) , J Heath (Eng) ,
73 C Blomstrand (Swe) , A Meronk (Pol) , M Simonsen (Den) , A Wennstam (Swe) , C Lutton (Sco) , P Nic (Cze) , K Kulokorpi (Fin) , K Eriksson (Swe) , F Maccario (Ita) , R McCarthy (Aus) , L Acikalin (am) (Tur) , M Brezovsky (am) (Svk) ,
74 C Suk (Cze) , P Gal (Cze) , C Braeunig (Ger) , P Tarver-Jones (Eng) , S Hodgson (Eng) , J Kunzenbacher (Ger) , F Raza (am) (Cze) ,
75 M Lampert (Ger) , N Geyger (Chi) , M Baldwin (Eng) , V Riu (Fra) , L Robinson (Eng) , S Grant (Irl) , T Yamac (am) (Tur) ,
76 M Laskey (Wal) , A Pavan (Ita) , J Carlota (Por) , A Korinek (Cze) , T Shadbolt (Eng) ,
77 J Girrbach (Sui) , P Dedek (Cze) , R Charania (Ken) , H Lipsanen (Fin) ,
79 E Kemaloglu (Tur) , J Friesz (Svk) ,
80 R Kumpost (am) (Cze) ,
** C Berardo (Fra)