Purcell’s good form continues as Windred leads in Czech

by | Jul 1, 2021 | 0 comments

Conor Purcell (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

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Irish stars relishing Mount Juliet homecoming

Irish stars relishing Mount Juliet homecoming

Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Séamus Power are excited to tee it up in front of the packed home crowds at Mount Juliet Estate for this week’s Horizon Irish Open. The home favourites will be backed by Irish golf fans in their thousands, with a sold-out weekend...

Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell posted a three-under par opening 68 to head the Irish challenge on a weather-affected opening day where Blake Windred posted a bogey-free six-under par round of 65 to take a share of the lead at the Kaskáda Golf Challenge.

Dubliner Purcell sits inside the top-20 after carding five birdies and two bogeys as he looks to take advantage of another Challenge Tour start. Michael Hoey was even par through 15 holes when play was suspended while Alps Tour regular David Carey struggled on his way to a four-over 75 .

Australian Windred birdied the final hole of his round to join German duo Marcel Schneider and Freddy Schott at the top of the leaderboard, the latter of whom will need to finish his opening round on Friday after only being able to complete 12 holes due to thunder and lightning at Kaskáda Golf Resort.

The leading trio are one stroke clear of home favourite Stanislav Matus, South Africa’s JC Ritchie and Sweden’s Tim Widing, who share fourth place on five under par.

Windred, who is playing in his maiden European Challenge Tour season, secured a career-best tie for second place at the Challenge de España last month and continued riding that wave of momentum into today’s round.

“I am very happy,” he said. “I feel like my game has been trending the last couple of weeks, that’s for sure, and having no bogeys out there definitely helps. I rolled a few putts in but in saying that, I gave myself a lot of opportunities and I was able to make six of them, so I’m pretty pleased with that.

“It’s a difficult course. If you miss a few tee shots, it can cost you a few shots. The play is to just stay aggressive. There are a few tee shots where you just have to smoke driver down the middle.

“It was a couple of hours’ delay and I just got some Netflix in, a bite to eat and then wheeled back out there. I didn’t think it was too bad.”

Co-leader Schneider has also enjoyed some good form of late, finishing in a tie for seventh at the Porsche European Open on the European Tour last month.

“I’m quite happy about the result today, the way I played and I’m looking forward to the next three days,” Schneider said.

“I came here with some confidence to be honest, because I’ve played quite well the last couple of events on the European Tour, I think that helps. I know from previous years that I can play well over here, so those two boosts together helped me to perform well.”

Eight players share seventh place on four under par, including four-time European Tour winner Marcel Siem, who will be eyeing a fifth appearance at The Open Championship with the leading non-exempt player in this week’s field earning a spot in the final Major Championship of the year at Royal St George’s later this month.

The first round of the Kaskáda Golf Challenge will be completed on Friday, with players required to be in position at 7:30am local time.

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