Englishman Paul Waring produced a wonderful short game display to lead the HNA Open de France by two shots courtesy of a brilliant bogey-free opening round of 64.
Waring needed only nine putts on Le Golf National’s notoriously difficult back nine, picking up shots on the 11th, 13th, 14th and 15th holes to add to his three birdies before the turn, as the 32 year old moved clear of the world class field in the second tournament on the European Tour’s new Rolex Series.
Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, Sweden’s Alexander Björk and England’s Nathan Kimsey share second place after opening rounds of 66, while in-form Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, who is currently second on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, is a further shot back after a bogey-free opening round of 67, sitting in a share of fifth place with American Peter Uihlein.
World Number Eight Alex Noren, the winner of the inaugural Rolex Series event, the BMW PGA Championship, opened with a two under par round of 69 while Spaniard Jon Rahm, the World Number 11, posted a one under par round of 71 on his debut appearance on European soil after joining the European Tour earlier this year.
“I only hit five fairways which is obscene around here but I think I had nine putts on the back nine. Obviously rolled the putter great and gave myself some real chances out there and took them.
“I felt like the short game is really, really tidy today. It just gave me opportunities to get it in and around the green. Any chance that I felt like I had, I rolled that in, and then obviously holed a few putts for par, which is nice to keep the momentum going.
“Of course, you’re always trying to push yourself forward. You’re always trying to sort of move up any sort of rankings, be that the Race to Dubai, be that World Rankings. Got a good, strong field again this year, so there’s plenty of World Ranking points available. So just got to keep pushing myself forward.”
“I’ve done decent at this tournament in the past. I got off to a good start and I like where my game’s at. I’ve done some work on my putting just this past week and it’s paid off. I haven’t been making those ten to 15 footers. I made a couple nice ones today, so that was nice.”
“It was really nice. I played a solid round of golf, hitting well off the tee, and good with irons. I think I only missed one green. I was steady with the putter. So it was a solid round of golf and I’m really happy to open good here.
“It’s really good, a really good course. That was the first impression coming here Monday; that everything looks amazing, like 15, 18, and also playing the course is really good. So yeah, I’m enjoying it here.”
“It’s definitely up there as one of the best (rounds I’ve had). Obviously in Qatar, I had a good couple of rounds there. I’ve not played so good the last few events, and I came here to obviously a tough golf course, and managed to put a good score together. So I think this is pretty much up there as the best so far.”
“I played really well today, start to finish. I never really got out of position. Anything around par around here is always good. That is my best score by a long way but I felt fine out there today. I felt like I hit it well. It was a comfy 67.
“It was great. The French crowd was great. The first hole felt like a really warm welcome. It was nice. I am from Spain so I’ve always had a great relationship with France. I spend a lot of time here. I was very excited to get started. Luckily I shot under par, which is always a good thing.”
Round One Scores (Par 71)
64 P Waring (Eng) ,
66 N Kimsey (Eng) , T Pieters (Bel) , A Björk (Swe) ,
67 T Fleetwood (Eng) , P Uihlein (USA) , F Fritsch (Ger) ,
68 A Saddier (Fra) , G Coetzee (RSA) , K Broberg (Swe) , P Larrazábal (Esp) , A Sullivan (Eng) , R Karlberg (Swe) , A Otaegui (Esp) ,
69 B Dredge (Wal) , N Bertasio (Ita) , B Stone (RSA) , A Levy (Fra) , M Kaymer (Ger) , C Shinkwin (Eng) , D Stewart (Sco) , F Zanotti (Par) , T Olesen (Den) , C Berardo (Fra) , G McDowell (Nir) , L Yan-Wei (Chn) , G Stal (Fra) , A Noren (Swe) , S Hend (Aus) , M Siem (Ger) , J Luiten (Ned) ,
70 N Fasth (Swe) , B Wiesberger (Aut) , J Rahm (Esp) , R Karlsson (Swe) , D Drysdale (Sco) , D Im (USA) , S Dyson (Eng) , P Dunne (Irl) , R Fisher (Eng) , N Colsaerts (Bel) , J Smith (Eng) , B Rumford (Aus) , G Bourdy (Fra) , J Lagergren (Swe) ,
71 J Quesne (Fra) , J Guerrier (Fra) , M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) , G Storm (Eng) , T Fisher Jnr (RSA) , L Westwood (Eng) , J Fahrbring (Swe) , L Bjerregaard (Den) , F Molinari (Ita) , R Rock (Eng) , P Khongwatmai (Tha) , A Chesters (Eng) , M Kieffer (Ger) , E Pepperell (Eng) , J Walters (RSA) , C Sordet (Fra) , D Perrier (Fra) , L Haotong (Chn) , T Linard (Fra) , M Armitage (Eng) ,
72 J Donaldson (Wal) , F Aguilar (Chi) , A Johnston (Eng) , N Elvira (Esp) , S Manley (Wal) , P Hanson (Swe) , C Wood (Eng) , V Dubuisson (Fra) , P Angles (Esp) , T Detry (Bel) , S Lee (Kor) , S Gallacher (Sco) , D Fichardt (RSA) , H Porteous (RSA) , J Morrison (Eng) , J Van Zyl (RSA) , M Wallace (Eng) , J Kruger (RSA) , M Foster (Eng) , D Brooks (Eng) , H Otto (RSA) , D Willett (Eng) , E Dubois (Fra) , R Knox (Sco) , T Jaidee (Tha) , A Cañizares (Esp) , C Paisley (Eng) , I Poulter (Eng) , M Korhonen (Fin) , C Hanson (Eng) ,
73 L Jensen (Den) , M Fraser (Aus) , D Frittelli (RSA) , B Ritthammer (Ger) , A Dodt (Aus) , R Sterne (RSA) , O Fisher (Eng) , C Shih-Chang (Tpe) , J Lima (Por) , J Olazábal (Esp) , T Bjørn (Den) , H Tanihara (Jpn) , S Kjeldsen (Den) , R Langasque (Fra) , G Havret (Fra) , S Walker (Eng) , T Aiken (RSA) , R Fox (Nzl) , C Pigem (Esp) , J Scrivener (Aus) , Z Lombard (RSA) , R Gouveia (Por) , D Howell (Eng) , E Molinari (Ita) , S Gros (Fra) , M Carlsson (Swe) ,
74 A Knappe (Ger) , S Jamieson (Sco) , J Stalter (Fra) , R Ramsay (Sco) , J Campillo (Esp) , R Bland (Eng) , J Wang (Kor) , M Pavon (Fra) , A Quiros (Esp) , M Ilonen (Fin) , S Lowry (Irl) , T Hatton (Eng) ,
75 W Ashun (Chn) , T Immelman (RSA) , D Burmester (RSA) , M Manassero (Ita) , R Wattel (Fra) , J Carlsson (Swe) , R Jacquelin (Fra) ,
76 M Fitzpatrick (Eng) , M Southgate (Eng) , S Heisele (Ger) , E De La Riva (Esp) , D Lipsky (USA) ,
77 L Slattery (Eng) , P Peterson (USA) , R Paratore (Ita) , M Warren (Sco) , A Romero (Arg) ,
78 K Aphibarnrat (Tha) , S Brazel (Aus) ,
79 B Hebert (Fra) ,
81 W Ormsby (Aus) ,
84 D Clarke (Nir) ,
RTD A Wall (Eng) ,