(Reuters) – Jonathan Thomson fired the lowest round of his European Tour career to take the opening round lead at the Made in Denmark tournament on Thursday, while all three Ryder Cup hopefuls struggled to make an impact.
Thomson, who equalled the course record in Hamburg last month, carded an eight-under-par 64 to lead the way at Silkeborg Ry Golf Club.
The 22-year-old Englishman sank nine birdies to take a two-shot advantage as he battles to retain his playing privileges at 216th on the Race to Dubai.
“It’s fantastic to get off to a great start for a change,” Thomson said. “I have been playing some great golf recently but not scoring, so to get off to a low-scoring start today was great.”
In the race for the final automatic qualifying spot for the Ryder Cup team, English pair Matthew Fitzpatrick and Eddie Pepperell are both seeking a victory to potentially dislodge local hero Thorbjorn Olesen.
Olesen, who needs a top-seven finish to guarantee a place in Team Europe, opened with a 73 in the morning but remained in pole position as Fitzpatrick carded a 72 and Pepperell settled for 70.
In drizzly morning conditions, Olesen lost his ball on the fourth hole and made a double-bogey but recovered well with back-to-back birdies on the seventh and eighth.
“I didn’t play well today, didn’t have a tempo in my swing,” he said.
“I was a bit nervous on the first tee, but other than that I felt good out there. Had a few loose drives, so I’m going to work a bit on that and hopefully do better tomorrow because, like a said, there’s a lot of chances out there.”
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)