Rowan Lester began his assault on the Clutch Pro Tour’s second event of the season with an opening three-under par 69 on the Red Course at Oxfordshire’s Frilford Heath Golf Club to lie two off the first round lead.
The Hermitage man, starting his round on the back nine, covered the first half in one-under, courtesy of birdies at 10 and 16 and a bogey at 17, but things got particularly interesting after the turn and he’d make just three pars on the front side, with bogey-fives coming at the third and fifth and a birdie at the first, two more back-to-back on six and seven, before another to close out the day where he’d end up tied for sixth when all was said and done.
Lester’s round was the best of the seven-strong Irish contingent by some margin with Daniel Mulligan next best placed at +2 with Owen Crooks and Cameron Raymond two further adrift on +4.
Conor O’Rourke who’d led the way in last week’s season opener sits tied for 133rd at +5, while Jason Murphy and John Hickey have a mountain to climb to make the 36-hole cut after carding rounds of +9.
England’s Jordan Wrisdale and Ollie Brimfield lead the way at -5. In his ninth year as a pro, the former is a relative veteran while Brimfield is in his first full season as a professional, and they lead the chasing trio of Nick Marsh, Olly Huggins and Gary King by a stroke.
Lester is the only non-Englishman in the top 13, and he sits alongside order of merit leader Jake Burnage who stormed to victory at last week’s St. Mellion event in Cornwall with a closing four-under 68 on the testing Jack Nicklaus layout.
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