McGovern grinds his way to a Top-10 start in Bulgaria


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Brendan McGovern finds himself in a share of tenth spot after a sound start in tough conditions on day one of the European Tour Properties Senior Classic in Bulgaria.

 Brendan McGovern / Image from Getty Images



The Headfort professional made three birdies to the turn to be out in minus-one and traded one more gain with a dropped shot on the 11thto be home in 35, good enough for a one-under-par 70.


McGovern, whose best finish this season came last week in a tie for 14that the Travis Perkins Masters, will be hoping to better that result over the weekend as he looks to be coming into form in the nick of time.


He’ll have Magnus P Atlevi to catch with the Swede having tamed the blustery conditions on opening day by posting a five-under-par 66 to take a first round lead at Lighthouse Golf and Spa Resort.


Scoring proved to be difficult in the windy conditions in Bulgaria but Atlevi posted an excellent 66 to sit one shot ahead of Peter Baker and Stephen Dodd, who share second place on four-under-par.


After his place at the top of the leaderboard on Day One was confirmed, Atlevi was delighted with a round which he admits was difficult from start to finish.


“It was good,” Atlevi said. “It was really difficult in this strong breeze. Every shot is difficult actually; downwind, crosswind, wind against, so I’m very happy.


“I’m very happy and as always, when it’s as windy as this, you end up very far from the pin sometimes. My long putting was the key to not dropping too many shots today.


“I don’t so much like the windy conditions but I don’t mind it. I was brought up playing in these types of conditions, as were many British and Irish guys.


“You get more creative with the shots as you rarely play a normal shot. That’s something that is to my liking.”

The 53-year-old’s last Staysure Tour victory was at the 2016 Paris Legends Championship and the possibility of adding to that triumph this weekend is something which whets the Swede’s appetite. 


“Even though we don’t have a cut, it’s always nice to see your name on the leaderboard,” he said. “When that happens, you really start to feel like you’re really competing, which is what we want to do.


“There’s still two days to go and when you see the leaderboard, you know it’s going to be tough. You have Stephen Dodd, who has been playing really steady and consistently this season but I’ve managed to do it today, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”


Welshman Dodd carded eight birdies on Day One in Bulgaria but a pair of bogeys and a double on the 17thmeant he was forced to settle for a share of second alongside Baker on four under.


A shot behind the duo in second place are Stephen Bennett, Gary Marks, Mauricio Molina and Mark Wharton on three under par. André Bossert and Peter Fowler are a shot further back on two-under-par, while a group of ten players are on one-under-par.


Scores after Round One:

66 M Atlevi (Swe) , 
67 S Dodd (Wal) , P Baker (Eng) , 
68 S Bennett (Eng) , M Wharton (Eng) , G Marks (Eng) , M Molina (Arg) , 
69 P Fowler (Aus) , A Bossert (Sui) , 
70 P Scott (Eng) , D Westermark (Swe) , B McGovern (Irl) , M Mackenzie (Eng) , G Manson (Aut) , C Suneson (Esp) , J Carriles (Esp) , K Tarling (Can) , J Lomas (Eng) , R Gomez (Arg) , 
71 I Woosnam (Wal) , J Kingston (RSA) , D Shacklady (Eng) , S Luna (Esp) , P Streeter (Eng) , S Tinning (Den) , 
72 M Harwood (Aus) , D Russell (Eng) , G Wolstenholme (Eng) , P Wesselingh (Eng) , M Farry (Fra) , 
73 P Golding (Eng) , T Thelen (USA) , M Mamat (Sin) , B Longmuir (Sco) , C Monasterio (Arg) , C Williams (RSA) , J Cheetham (Eng) , J Coceres (Arg) , L Carbonetti (Arg) , 
74 M McLean (Eng) , J Quiros (Esp) , M Mouland (Wal) , A Sherborne (Eng) , J Sandelin (Swe) , G Emerson (Eng) , 
75 P Wilson (Eng) , S Brown (Eng) , M Martin (Esp) , M Davis (Eng) , S Richardson (Eng) , 
76 A George (Eng) , P Walton (Irl) , 
77 J Sallat (Fra) , 
78 N Job (Eng) ,

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