Brendan McGovern fired a one-under par round of 71 to sit just outside the top-10 after day one of the the Druh Belts presents Paris Legends Championship by Renault Z.E.
The Headfort professional returned a mixed back that included four birdies and an eagle but finished the day in a share of 12th at one-under.
He trails Thomas Levet by four after the Frenchman carded an opening five-under par round of 67 to end day one with a narrow lead as he chases a dream home victory.
Levet, who once covered the back nine at Racing Club de France la Boulie in just 27 strokes, sits one shot clear of Sweden’s Joakim Haeggman and South African James Kingston after a windy opening day at the Parisian venue.
The 51-year-old navigated his childhood home course without a blemish, carding three birdies over his opening nine holes – starting on the tenth tee – before picking up two more shots after the turn to race into the lead for the first time in his Staysure Tour career.
“I’ve played lots of good rounds and have lots of good memories from the course and I know the greens really well and at today’s speed,” he said.
“I would not say it is easier necessarily to play well at a course that you know well, as I have plenty of nightmares here too, which made me play a little too safe at times, but I was happy with the overall result.
“I drove the ball well and only missed one green, on the 16th when my approach spun back onto the edge. It was not easy today. This course is narrow and when it is windy you need to hit the right clubs off the tee and plot your way around.”
The tournament is the first time the six-time European Tour winner has competed on home soil since he made his debut on the Staysure Tour last October, with a tie for tenth at The Senior Open Presented by Rolex currently his best performance on the circuit to date.
“Golf de la Boulie holds lots of good memories for me and my family,” he said. “My sister has won the Club Championship maybe five times and me and my brother both played for the team as teenagers. My best score here is 63 although I did once shoot 27 on the back nine and a 61 once in practice, so hopefully I can continue to draw on these memories over the next few days.”
Haeggman, who kicked off his Staysure Tour career at The Sinclair Invitational last month just days after celebrating his 50th birthday, wasted no time making his presence on the circuit known, carding six birdies in an opening four under par round of 68 to join Kingston in a tie for second.
Meanwhile, England’s David Shacklady started his quest for back-to-back Staysure Tour titles with a three under par round of 69. The two-time Staysure Tour winner is just two shots off the pace, alongside compatriot Peter Baker and current Staysure Tour Order of Merit leader Phillip Price.
Levet gets his second round under way at 9:00am local time alongside Welshman Price, with Haeggman beginning day two at 10:50am and Kingston continuing his title challenge at 9:50am.
Scores after round 1:
67 T Levet (Fra) ,
68 J Haeggman (Swe) , J Kingston (RSA) ,
69 P Baker (Eng) , D Shacklady (Eng) , P Price (Wal) ,
70 J Coceres (Arg) , M Atlevi (Swe) , P Wesselingh (Eng) , R Chapman (Eng) , J Remesy (Fra) ,
71 M Farry (Fra) , S Dodd (Wal) , N Sweet (Eng) , P Streeter (Eng) , J Carriles (Esp) , B McGovern (Irl) ,
72 S Brown (Eng) , A Bossert (Sui) , S Luna (Esp) , D Gilford (Eng) , M Martin (Esp) , S Little (Eng) ,
73 C Suneson (Esp) , C Williams (RSA) , G Orr (Sco) , S Tinning (Den) , C Monasterio (Arg) , M Mouland (Wal) , G Wolstenholme (Eng) ,
74 M Brier (Aut) , P Golding (Eng) , M Davis (Eng) , G Marks (Eng) , M McLean (Eng) , J Murphy (Eng) , A Oldcorn (Sco) , A Sherborne (Eng) ,
75 R Gomez (Arg) , J Sallat (Fra) , P Wilson (Eng) , G Emerson (Eng) , J Lomas (Eng) , P Fowler (Aus) , M Molina (Arg) ,
76 G Evans (Eng) , J Sandelin (Swe) ,
77 T Thelen (USA) , P Scott (Eng) ,
79 P Walton (Irl) ,
80 S Bennett (Eng) , N Job (Eng) , M Wharton (Eng) ,
82 B Longmuir (Sco) ,
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