Tom McKibbin is the best placed of the Irish contenders at the DP World Tour’s KLM Dutch Open after an opening one-under 71, while John Murphy suffered a disappointing end to his round to finish on level par.
Both Irishmen were making their first start at Bernardus Golf Club in Croimvert, on the outskirts of the Dutch city of Hertogenbosch, and arrived with varying levels of confidence.
McKibbin, after a promising start to his rookie season, has somewhat stalled with three missed cuts in his last three starts while Murphy, fresh off his first weekend appearance on the DP World Tour, has spied light at the end of the tunnel as the season moves into its third quarter.
Playing alongside one another and starting on the 10th, McKibbin took care of both par-5s on his first nine, adding another birdie at the par-4 14th to make the turn at -3, while birdies at 10, 18 and a dropped shot at 16 had Murphy two behind at halfway.
Bogeys at one and two undid some of McKibbin’s good work, and birdies at and seven were cancelled out by a costly double-bogey at the fifth after over-shooting the green and finding trouble.
Birdies at two and six saw Murphy reach the three-under mark with three holes to play, but he’d finish disappointingly with three bogeys in a row to reach the clubhouse at level-par, one behind McKibbin.
Three-time DP World Tour champion Jorge Campillo carded ten birdies and a solitary bogey in a sensational opening 63 to reach nine under par and take first round leader honours.
Having also started at the tenth, Campillo reeled off four successive birdies from the 11th and picked up further shots on the 16th, 18th and first before his only bogey arrived at the second.
He then finished with a flourish, taking advantage of the front nine’s two par threes – the sixth and eighth – and closing his round with a birdie on the ninth.
Andy Sullivan, Joël Stalter and Pablo Larrazábal were Campillo’s nearest challengers on six under after their 66s.
Home favourite Joost Luiten was in the large group another shot back alongside Englishmen Dale Whitnell and John Parry, Spaniards Alejandro del Rey and Adrian Otaegui, India’s Shubhankar Sharma and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Campillo said: “I played solid really. I hit it great, hit the driver fairly well, missed a few fairways here and there but hit great iron shots and only made one bogey.
“I was 30 feet from birdie but hit it 60 feet past the hole – but overall I played really solid.
“I keep doing the same things. I’m hitting my irons really well, the driver is a little inconsistent but on this golf course, it lets you play from off the fairway as well.
“I putted great today, which I didn’t do in Belgium, so it was a nice day.”
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