Naas man Jonathan Yates continued a purple patch of form on the Alps Tour as he began the Aravell Open with a solid five-under 66 in Andorra to sit four shots off the early lead.
Eight birdies – including back-to-back to finish his round – along with a double-bogey and a bogey has him in a tie for eighth after the opening day’s play, although he has work to do to chase down Finland’s Eemil Alajarvi and Spain’s Daniel Berna Manzanares.
Five-under is the same score that Gary Hurley finds himself on after an eagle, four birdies and a bogey in his first round at Aravell Golf & Country Club, which has him just inside the top-10 after day one as well.
Alajarvi opened with nine birdies in a bogey-free 62 to hold a share of the lead, however Manzanares is in the better position as he is nine-under thru just 15 holes of his first round after playing his front nine in 28, with seven birdies and an eagle on his card before poor light suspended play.
Finland’s Alajarvi from Finland turned professional last year and this is his second season playing on the Alps Tour. After his round, Alajarvi commented on how well he played, “I would say I played well today. I hit many good shots and made many putts. I hit my long irons very well today. It’s normally not my strength but it definitely was today.” He also said how he’s enjoying the course and looking forward to the rest of the week, “I like this course a lot, the course is in good conditions and beautiful. I’m just going to try and keep going and enjoy every round without thinking about the leaderboard. There are still 2 rounds left so everything is possible”
Last week’s winner and current 2nd in the Order of Merit, French amateur, Tom Vaillant also went bogey free in an 8 under-par round and sits just one shot back of the lead at the end of round 1. Vaillant was happy with his game today, “I played really nicely today, my strengths were good today so it helped me be in position for birdies most of the time. The course is great, it’s in good conditions and it’s really cool to play here. My long game is fitting very well with the course so it’s helping me.” He also commented on how his win last week gave him a confidence boost but doesn’t change his mentality going into his week, “winning is always great and gives a lot of confidence but it’s a new week so I just restart the week with the same mindset.”
Simon Bryan is just outside the cut line after three birdies and as many bogeys in a level-par 71 in his first round in Andorra, however David Carey is in need of a good second round to stick around for the final day after two bogeys, a double-bogey and two birdies in a two-over 73.