The Vierumäki Finnish Challenge has an Irish pacesetter as James Sugrue carded a fine seven under par opening round 65.
The 25-year-old eagled his final hole to take the outright lead after day one at Vierumäki Resort, also carding six birdies, and was thrilled with his overall display.
“I drove the ball very well and putted well” he said. “I think I had eight putts through nine so I one-putted every green and holed out from a bunker, so I didn’t have to use the putter too much on the front nine!”
Like a number of his fellow professionals across the men’s and women’s game, Sugrue’s golf clubs were lost in transit but the Corkman managed to secure a loan set from a former DP World Tour player.
“The clubs aren’t mine, I lost my clubs coming here, so I got a set off Mikko Illonen and they are very nice, I might have to hold on to them!
As for the tournament Sugrue is eager to continue his recent form from last weeks K Club event “Just more of the same tomorrow, I’m really comfortable with that driver, every time I tee it up I think it is going to be a good one. We’ll just see where it takes us.”
Finland’s Antii Ahokas and Italian’s Fillipo Bergamaschi and Michele Ortolini are in a three way-way tie for second place after the first round after the trio carded six under par rounds of 66.
Ahokas who won twice on the Challenge Tour in 2008 before struggling to maintain consistent form for much of the follow decade gave the leader board a home flavour.
”I haven’t played in front of a crowd for a while, so I was just trying to stay in my own bubble’ he admitted. It was something I enjoyed but at the same time I focused on my own thing, but obviously it gives you energy.
“Quite a few people here now, this tournament is a couple of weeks earlier than normal, people are still on holidays, it is a warm week. I think we’ll get some more crowds here, which is fantastic.”
Martin Simonsen of Denmark, ranked tenth in the Road to Mallorca standings, is the pick of a bunch of players one stroke back on five under, with Spaniard, Alejandro Del Rey, the highest ranked player in the field, also well placed after an opening three under par 69.
Fellow Corkman John Murphy sits just two shots back from Sugrue as he carded an opening 67 with Gary Hurley and Rowan Lester back in a tie for 32nd on -3. Conor Purcell -2, Paul McBride & Gavin Moynihan -1 also carded solid openers with Robin Dawson +2 and Ronan Mullarney +3 with serious work to do to make the weekend in Finland.