Gavin Moynihan picked up where he left off at Headfort to post a tidy three-under par round of 68 on day one of the Amundi Open de France.
The Mount Juliet touring pro, who enjoyed a top-10 finish last week at the Stone Irish Challenge, fired four bogeys with just a single blemish coming at the 17th to share 13th spot overnight, just three shots off the lead.
The 25-year old Dubliner sits in 162nd spot on the Race to Dubai standings and with the top-117 projected to keep their cards for next season, Moynihan will need something special either this week in France or next week in Portugal to ensure his card stays in his pocket.
Meanwhile, Paul Dunne, who’s teetering dangerously in 116th spot on the table, found no joy on day one at Le Golf National.
The Greystones star looks a shadow of his former assured self on the fairways and will need a low one tomorrow just to reach the weekend after slumping to a disappointing opening day 77.
Dunne posted treble-bogey, double-bogey over his 6th and 7th holes this morning and finds himself just one shot off the foot of the leaderboard heading into day two.
At the other end of the spectrum, George Coetzee and Ryan Fox opened up a one shot lead at the top of a congested leaderboard after day one in France.
South African Coetzee fired his lowest opening round of the season to set the target at six-under par with his round of 65, and Fox matched him in the afternoon as the New Zealander also carded seven birdies and a single bogey to join him at the summit.
“It was almost perfect,” said Coatzee. “Played really well. Just dropped one on 17, but I can’t complain. It’s nice to be in the mix again. It’s been kind of a hard, long year, but it feels like the game is coming along nicely.
“I think you find which holes you can attack when you get to the green. There’s no real aggressive game plan on this golf course. Just keep the ball in play and give yourself opportunities, and there’s obviously a couple of holes where you’ve got to be careful.”
Meanwhile, Ryan Fox reflected: “I’m pretty happy. This is a golf course that can kick you pretty quickly. I played really solid today. Holed some putts. Played those tough holes, that closing stretch, really well. I could have potentially grabbed a couple more on those last four, which is always a bonus, but very happy to walk away with a 65 around here.
“You’ve got to drive it really well. For the most part I did a really good job of keeping it in play. A couple holes I hit poor tee shots and I managed to scramble and make pars from there, which is nice. But yeah, you just keep yourself out of trouble.”
Benjamin Hebert – currently the leading French player on the Race to Dubai – delighted the home fans at Le Golf National with a birdie on the last to sit one shot off the lead alongside American Kurt Kitayama and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay.
Victor Perez became the latest player from France to win on the European Tour when he took the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title last month, and he is just two shots off the lead at four-under par, alongside South African trio Darren Fichardt, Jaco Van Zyl and Justin Walters, Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, Dane Nicolai Hogaard and Kalle Samooja of Finland.
Full scoring HERE