Victor Riu fired a course record 63 to lead by two strokes at nine under par at the end of a low scoring first round at the Bad Griesbach Challenge Tour by Hartl Resort.
The Frenchman leads by two from Germany’s Nicolas Meitinger, England’s Chris Hanson and Belgium’s Pierre Relecom, who all posted seven under par on the Beckenbauer Course.
Riu got his round off to the ideal start with four birdies in his first nine holes, picking up shots at the third, sixth, eighth, and ninth, before an eagle at the par five tenth really kicked his round into top gear.
Further birdies at the 11th and 14th saw the Frenchman go eight under par for his round, before a dropped shot at the 16th had looked like halting his progress, but Riu bounced back from that with birdies at the 17th and 18th to finish off a fine opening round.
“I played very well, I’m very happy, everything was very good,” admitted a satisfied Riu. “The course is nice, it is playing long but the greens are good. I’m 23rd on the Challenge Tour Ranking at the moment and have played pretty solid so far this season, so I’m very happy.
“I have never won as a professional so it would be great after six years to win here this week.”
In a tie for second place, two strokes adrift, is Meitinger who took advantage of being on home soil to card seven birdies and no dropped shots on Thursday.
On the same mark is Hanson who shot the joint lowest round of the afternoon thanks to a couple of long range birdies, while the last to join the trio at seven under par after 18 holes was Relecom, who based his 65 on solid irons into the greens and playing smart from the tees.
Jerome Lando Casanova played alongside the leading Riu in the opening round, and he too was in top form, finishing in a tie for third alongside the Dutch duo of Daan Huizing and Robin Kind, the latter of which is making his Challenge Tour debut this week.
England’s Adam Gee got off to a fast start first thing on Thursday, carding seven birdies in his first ten holes, but a costly double at 11 and a bogey at 15 saw him finish with a 67. That was a score matched by Norway’s Knut Borsheim and two time European Tour winner Kenneth Ferrie, amongst others.
Scores after round 1:
63 V Riu (Fra) ,
65 C Hanson (Eng) , P Relecom (Bel) , N Meitinger (Ger) ,
66 J Lando Casanova (Fra) , R Kind (Ned) , D Huizing (Ned) ,
67 S Kannler (Ger) , J Abbott (Eng) , M Laskey (Wal) , R Harris (Eng) , D Palm (Swe) , K Borsheim (Nor) , D Wuensche (Ger) , K Ferrie (Eng) , J Guerrier (Fra) , A Gee (Eng) ,
68 S Heisele (Ger) , C Mivis (Bel) , F De Vries (Ned) , L Weber (Fra) , P Edberg (Swe) , G Watremez (Bel) , N Kearney (Irl) , E Johansen (Nor) , L Bjerregaard (Den) , B Ritthammer (Ger) , B An (Kor) , A Pavan (Ita) , T Pilkadaris (Aus) , J Huldahl (Den) ,
69 J Dantorp (Swe) , M Trappel (Aut) , M Crespi (Ita) , S Manley (Wal) , A Johnston (Eng) , N Henriques (Por) , D Stewart (Sco) , M Rominger (Sui) , B Parker (Eng) , G Snow (Ken) , E Dubois (Fra) , L Claverie (Esp) , N Quintarelli (Ita) , C Aguilar (Esp) ,
70 B Hemstock (Eng) , J Moul (Eng) , S O’Hara (Sco) , J Carlsson (Swe) , R Kakko (Fin) , J Senior (Eng) , S Grant (Irl) , G Murray (Sco) , M Glauert (Ger) , L Goddard (Eng) , T Fournier (Fra) , O Farr (Wal) , Å Nilsson (Swe) , P Oriol (Esp) , J Mommo (Fin) , P Archer (Eng) , L Kennedy (Eng) , J Glennemo (Swe) , D Perrier (Fra) , S Garcia Rodriguez (Esp) ,
71 J Barnes (Eng) , W Booth (Sco) , J Gibb (Eng) , S Hutsby (Eng) , F Bergamaschi (Ita) , C Kim (USA) , J Fahrbring (Swe) , C Ford (Eng) , B Hebert (Fra) , F Praegant (Aut) , M Brier (Aut) , J Doherty (Sco) , T Murray (Eng) , P Maddy (Eng) , J Elson (Eng) , A Bossert (Sui) , M Haastrup (Den) , N Elvira (Esp) ,
72 F Svanberg (Sui) , N Lemke (Swe) , A Bernadet (Fra) , S Kim (Kor) , M Schneider (Ger) , J Garcia Pinto (Esp) , J Lerchedahl (Den) , R Steiner (Aut) , N Ravano (Ita) , L Tintera (Cze) , T Nørret (Den) , W Besseling (Ned) , F Colombo (Ita) , P O’Keeffe (Irl) , D Geminiani (Ita) , T Pulkkanen (Fin) ,
73 G Piris Mateu (Esp) , G Houston (Wal) , R Russell (Sco) , A Perrino (Ita) , J Pastor Lopez (Esp) , N Floren (Swe) , I Pyman (Eng) , N Dougherty (Eng) , P Kaensche (Nor) , A Rota (Ita) , C Suneson (Esp) , S Piaget (Mon) ,
74 C Del Moral (Esp) , K Nicol (Sco) , T Sluiter (Ned) , J Timmis (Eng) , H Bacher (Aut) , R Kellett (Sco) , A Velasco (Esp) , O Whiteley (Eng) , R Saxton (Ned) ,
75 F McGuirk (Eng) , L Saltman (Sco) , A Otaegui (Esp) , P Dwyer (Eng) , D Kemmer (USA) , N Dahlgren (Fin) , D Vancsik (Arg) , D Im (USA) , J Legarrea (Esp) , P Westermann (am) (Ger) ,
76 A McArthur (Sco) , M Novy (Cze) , J Howarth (Eng) , B Chapellan (Fra) , O Lieser (Cze) ,
77 D Griffiths (Eng) , M Haremza (Ger) , S Davis (Eng) , E Bertheussen (Nor) , P Erofejeff (Fin) , C Günther (Ger) , M Kramer (Ger) , N Bertasio (Ita) , P Gal (Cze) , B Hafthorsson (Isl) , R Mattila (Fin) , T Haylock (Eng) ,
78 D Wright (Eng) , Y Kafelnikov (Rus) ,
79 S Matus (Cze) , M Nichols (Eng) , O Rozner (Fra) ,
80 J Maurer (Aut) ,
81 J Ruth (Eng) ,
83 M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) ,
86 D Suchan (am) (Cze) ,