On a hot scoring day in Sweden, Gavin Moynihan fired a lukewarm 70 to open his account at the Swedish Challenge hosted by Robert Karlsson at Katrineholms Golfklubb.
The Dubliner has been showing signs of life of late and returned five birdies for a two-under-par total that sits him in the middle of the pack in a share of 40th.
Not many Irish made the trip to Scandinavia but of the other two that did, both Neil O’Briain and Cormac Sharvin returned disappointing one-over-par opening efforts when those around them sizzled and will now have their work cut out to make the weekend cut.
Old Conna’s O’Briain managed four birdies but will be hoping to cut out the mistakes tomorrow to climb up the leaderboard, while Ardglass’ Sharvin carded four birdies of his own and will take the same mission brief into Friday’s second round.
The pacesetter is Adri Arnaus who broke free from the pack on day one as he posted an eight-under-par 64 to hold the lead at Katrineholms Golfklubb.
The Spaniard enjoyed a bogey-free opening round with four birdies going out and four coming in to lead in Sweden by two shots at the end of Day One, with Frenchman Ugo Coussaud and Swedish pair Mikael Lundberg and Simon Forsström his nearest challengers on six-under-par.
After thunderstorms descended on Katrineholm on Wednesday evening, the good weather returned on Thursday morning with a number of players making the most of the tranquil conditions to dive deep into the red.
And Arnaus was the man who accelerated beyond the rest to finish with a two-shot cushion at the end of a day during which he ‘had a lot of fun’.
“I’m really pleased,” he said. “I’m really happy with how it went. I’ve got my coach with me on the bag this week and we had a lot of fun out there. We kept everything simple, taking one shot at a time and I hit a lot of good ones.”
“How I handled things was the most pleasing thing today. I was just focussing on what I have to focus on, nothing else, just what’s in front of me. The ground was a bit softer after the rain last night but the course is still pretty dry, which I like because the ball rolls and it allows me to put it closer to the green.”
The 23-year-old sits in 15th place on the Road to Ras al Khaimah after several strong outings this season which have yielded four top ten finishes without a victory, something which he believes will come naturally if he continues to play well.
“When I finished last week, I analysed my game and I saw that I haven’t been able to put four rounds in a row together yet.
“I don’t have to worry about that – I’m just trying to play my best every week and see if I can repeat that.
“The goal for the year is to finish in the top 15 on the Road to Ras al Khaimah, but I just want to play well every week. Everything else should take care of itself.”
Behind the trio who share second place – Coussaud, Forsström and Lundberg all posting blemish-free rounds of 66 – is a group of six players on five under par, including English duo Tom Lewis and Max Orrin. As the leaderboard tightens up, 13 players sit a shot further back on four-under-par.
The second round will begin at 7.30am local time tomorrow.
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