Caldwell’s flawless opening round leaves him three shots off the lead at the Swiss Challenge

Conor Cantwell

Jonathan Caldwell (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Conor Cantwell

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Jonathan Caldwell started off the Swiss Challenge in impressive style with a flawless round of 68 as the Northern Irishman sits three shots off the lead set by Englishman, Sam Bairstow.

Daniel Mulligan and Dermot McElroy also enjoyed low-scoring days as the pair shot 70 on the opening day of play to share 50th place.

Conor Purcell has it all to do to make the cut tomorrow with the 26-year-old four-over-par after his opening round, including two double bogeys on the back nine.

Caldwell entered the tournament this week hoping to reclaim the form he exhibited at the Farmfoods Scottish Open in the DP World Tour’s feeder competition in mid-August.

It’s fair to say Caldwell’s start was the foundation on which he played what was sure to have been an enjoyable opening round, birdieing the second and third as he began the day two-under-par through three holes.

Another birdie on the par-four sixth brought the Clandeboye golfer onto -3 with three more pars completing the 39-year-old’s front nine.

Caldwell would go on to sink another birdie on the 12th and completed his blemish-free round with six consecutive pars, giving him a score of -4 and a share of 15th.

The most in-form Irishman coming into the competition, McElroy, seemed to carry his solid recent form into this week as he started his round with a flurry of birdies which put him three-under-par through three holes.

The 30-year-old would birdie the 10th as well to take him to -4, but unfortunately would drop shots in consecutive holes on the 15th and 16th to finish his round on two-under-par.

Mulligan was also in good form on the opening day at Golf Saint Apollinaire as the teenager shot an even-keeled round of 70.

In his appearances on the Challenge Tour this year, Mulligan has put together some inconsistent rounds which have included some erratic runs – but today Mulligan played very steadily.

Mulligan began the round with six consecutive birdies followed by a birdie on the 7th, but unfortunately would give a shot back on the final hole of his front nine with a bogey on the ninth.

After a par on the 10th, the run of holes between the 11th and 14th would define Mulligan’s round.

Back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th preceded a bogey on the 13th, but the 18-year-old responded impressively with a birdie to restore his score of -2 and would remain there for the rest of his round.

Clubhouse leader after the opening 18 holes, Sam Bairstow, was in red-hot form throughout his first round and shot 65 which included an eagle on the par-four 14th. After his round, Bairstow spoke about his round and ambitions on the Challenge Tour circuit.

“I drove the ball really nicely,” said Bairstow, “I was hitting it quite long and pretty straight, to be honest. You’ve got to keep it out of the rough around here though, and if you do that you’ve got plenty of chances.

“Obviously you want to finish in the top 20,” he added. “You can’t really play thinking about it though. If you do, you’re not going to play well, so I’ll just try to do what I usually do and see where I finish at the end of the season.”


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