Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell played like a man in the middle of his season after opening up in style on day one of the Betfred British Masters at Close House.
The 36-year old fired five birdies en route to a four-under par round of 67 that’s good enough for a share of ninth heading into day two.
Due to Covid-19, Caldwell has seen his re-emergence on the main tour somewhat stunted since graduating via Q-School last year. He missed the two-event swing in Austria over the last fortnight but looks refreshed and raring to go ahead of the six-event UK swing.
Meanwhile, Paul Dunne enjoyed a solid if unspectacular even par effort upon his return to the European Tour. The 27-year old flew out the gate with a birdie at the first but was quickly brought back down to earth with consecutive bogeys thereafter.
Yet two birdies in succession on the way home got him back to even par and with four birdies on his card overall, it was an all-round encouraging first day back at work for the 2017 British Masters Champion who’s just outside the top-70.
Cormac Sharvin recovered from four-over through four holes to find four birdies of his own in an eventual two-over par effort while it was also a battle for Gavin Moynihan after a double-bogey at the 1st – the Dubliner also signed for a plus-two 73.
At the top, David Law fired a flawless seven under opening round 64 at the event hosted by Lee Westwood to take a one stroke lead at the first tournament of the European Tour’s UK Swing.
The 29-year-old Scot, who has one European Tour title to his name at last year’s ISPS Handa Vic Open, hit a red hot streak with seven birdies in eight holes from the sixth – the only par during that run came courtesy of a wondrous save from the heavy gorse at the 11th.
“I was playing steady,” Law reflected. “You might not be sure what to expect coming into today after the long break. I was delighted with that.
“It’s still a little strange, but the Tour have done a fantastic job. So far I think it’s gone really well. The club has hosted us really well. It’s a new time for us, we’re all learning and we’ll all have to get used to it. The whole week so far has been very positive.
“We’ve been lucky at home and not had anyone affected by the illness, thankfully. My daughter is 19 months old, so to have that extended time at home, I’ll never get that again. We had a great time. It was a nice time for me because I wasn’t playing the best going into that break. It was a good time to recharge and regroup.”
Law finished the day one shot clear of Englishmen Oliver Fisher and Garrick Porteous and Italy’s Renato Paratore, who carded rounds of 65 at Close House Golf Club.
The tournament host, former World Number One Westwood, battled to a one under 70 while his fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell had a solid start on his return to golf after four months out, signing for a four under 67.
Full scoring HERE