Robin Dawson continues to find his feet on the Challenge Tour and fired a superb five-under par 67 on day one of the Made in Denmark Challenge – Presented by FREJA.
The Tramore professional showed glimpses of the form he displayed at the Irish Open at Lahinch last week in Finland and he kept the foot down to fire six birdies in an opening salvo that puts him inside the top-20 heading into day two.
That was one shot better than Castleknock’s David Carey who posted six birdies of his own but one dropped shot more in a four-under par round of 68 as he looks to take advantage of a rare Challenge Tour appearance.
With five Irish taking their chance this week, Gary Hurley is next best at minus-one but despite breaking par, he finds himself sharing 99th place and is in need of a low one tomorrow to ensure he makes the weekend cut.
The West Waterford professional would have been disappointed to taint his opening score with consecutive bogeys to finish but at minus-one, he’s not without hope heading for Thursday’s second round.
One shot back is Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee who registered four birdies but too many mistakes in an even par effort while Naas pro Conor O’Rourke’s recent struggles continued with a three-over par opening effort of 75.
Marcel Schneider finds himself on top of a leaderboard after day one following a round of nine-under par 63.
The German went bogey-free around Ry Golfklub Silkeborg, carding seven birdies and an eagle to take a second 18-hole lead in his last three starts.
Schneider recently led the Euram Bank Open by three shots heading into the second round after he opened with an eight under par 62. Despite not winning the Austrian event, he did not feel as though his game had evaded him.
“I was playing decent in Austria for the rest of the tournament, but I just didn’t putt very well over the final rounds, so I hope the putter works better over the next few days,” he said.
The 29-year-old will have strong experiences to draw from as he seeks a second career win on the European Challenge Tour. Last year, he dominated the Swiss Challenge presented by Swiss Golf, going wire-to-wire and expanding his lead each day as he marched to an emotional six-shot victory.
The Challenge Tour veteran insists, however, that his mind will not look backwards, even if there are strong memories to draw from.
“I won’t be thinking about Switzerland, to be honest,” he said. “I’m just thinking about tomorrow and focusing on what is to come, and we’ll see what happens.”
Schneider, who is currently 35th in the Challenge Tour Rankings, will take a one shot lead into day two of the Made in Denmark Challenge, but regardless of how the rest of the week turns out, he remains confident about his prospects for the rest of the season.
“Next week I’m playing on the European Tour but then after that I’m just going to focus on the Challenge Tour for the rest of the season,” he said. “I feel like my game is quite hot and I have a good chance of finishing inside the top 15.”
Playing on home-soil, Benjamin Poke is one of three players to have carded an opening round of eight under par.
The Dane currently occupies the 38th position on the Rankings and will look to continue his strong play with only two tournaments left to qualify for the 40-player, limited-field Rolex Trophy.
Poke is joined in a share of second by Scotland’s Craig Howie, and Englishmen Mark Young, who all, like Schneider carded bogey-free rounds.
Three players recorded hole-in-ones during the opening round in Denmark. Manuel Trappel and Matt Ford aced the short par three 13th hole, while Chris Hanson ended his round by carding a one on the par three 18th. Astoundingly, Ford and Hanson are also sharing a hotel room this week.
Play was suspended for two hours and 30 minutes on day one of the Made in Denmark Challenge due to lightning. One group did not finish before darkness fell and will complete their opening round tomorrow at 8:30 am local time. Tee times for round two will remain the same.
Full scoring HERE