Thursday, July 07, 2016

Henry and Law break 70 on opening day

Kiwi Fox equals course record as he leads 

 in Slovakia Challenge

Ryan Fox tied the course record as his bogey-free seven under par opening round of 65 gave him a one-shot lead at the D+D REAL Slovakia Challenge around Senica’s Penati Golf Resort.
The New Zealander took full advantage of perfect conditions around the stunning Jack Nicklaus-designed Legend Course, birdieing the 18th with a lengthy putt to better the earlier 66 of Romain Langasque.
Since returning to the European Challenge Tour three weeks ago at the Najeti Open, Fox has immediately found his best form, following a seventh place in France with a runner-up finish in Scotland, and he is relishing being in contention to win tournaments again.
“I played really nicely today,” said the 29 year old. “I probably hit a couple of bad wedge shots that I got away with on the green by holing some nice putts but the rest of the day was really solid.
“I drove the ball really nicely – it’s nice and wide out there but you can still put yourself in trouble if you hit bad tee shots, so overall it was a pretty stress-free day.
“There’s a little bit of thinking round a few holes, a handful of tricky tee shots out there, but the rest of it really suits the longer guys like me if you can keep it in play, and I managed to do that quite nicely today.
“The Najeti Open was probably a little bit scrappy but I played really smart around there, and then I played really nicely in Scotland – it was nice to see some putts fall and nice to keep it out of the long stuff for the most part.
“Being in contention on the Sunday and hitting some good shots down the stretch was definitely a nice place to be again – I really enjoyed that feeling because it’s been a while since I’ve been in it.
“I’ve put myself in the best position possible for later in the week and hopefully I can go out tomorrow and put another score down early and be in with a chance over the weekend.
“This course suits my style because I like making birdies – I don’t know too many golfers that don’t. You get a lot of wedges around here and on the majority of the greens, if you hit good shots you get rewarded. You might have to be brave to take them on, but you can hit a lot of shots close.
“I really enjoy that way of playing golf – feeding it in off slopes to get it close and playing aggressive, so this is a great golf course for me and really fun to play.”
Langasque was the pick of the morning starters, drawing on his experience of playing with Martin Kaymer and Bernd Wiesberger – both Challenge Tour alumni – at last week’s 100th Open de France to continue his impressive rookie season.
“Last week was amazing,” said the 23 year old Frenchman. “I played with Bernd and Martin for the first two rounds, in front of big crowds so a lot of extra pressure, and that was a good test for me.
“It showed me that my game is ready to play under that pressure and on that kind of stage, and you learn about the attitude required – Martin was a few shots over par in the first round but he didn’t change anything, just continued to talk with me and play his own game, and he ended up fifth in the tournament.
“We talked about the Challenge Tour a bit because they both began here as well, and about the atmosphere here – they have good memories of playing here.
“It’s great to be able to speak to a player like Martin who has won two Majors and ten years ago he was in the same place as me, so that gives me more confidence about what comes next.”
One shot further back, in a tie for third place, are Espen Kofstad, Ruaidhri McGee, Pedro Oriol and Matthieu Pavon – Langasque’s roommate for the week.
Norway’s Kofstad made the first eagle four of the week at the 783-yard par six 15th hole as he bids for a top two finish that will earn him a place in the Olympics this summer ahead of the qualification deadline of Monday.

par 72

65 R Fox (NZ)
66 R Langasque (Fra)
67 E Kofstad (Nor), M Pavon (Fra), R McGee (Ire), P Oriol (Spain).

68 Scott Henry (T7)
69 David Law (T16)
72 D Stewart, R Kellett (T72)
77 C Sutherland, P Shields (T137)





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