Rhys Enoch continued his good recent form on the European Challenge Tour by carding a first round 67 to claim a share of the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge lead.
The Welshman held the halfway lead at the Prague Golf Challenge and was also in contention going into the final day of the Swedish Challenge hosted by Robert Karlsson – his last two events on the Road to Oman.
Three consecutive birdies got the 29 year old off to a perfect start at Vierumäki Resort, and after a further gain at the ninth, Enoch reached the turn in 33.
Another trio of birdies between 11 and 13 took Enoch to the top of the leaderboard, but a bogey at 17 meant he had to settle for a share of first place on five under with nine other players after day one.
Despite his late blemish, Enoch was happy with his opening round – and hopes he can keep his performance levels high for the rest of the week
“It went really nicely out there today,” said Enoch, whose best finish this season was tied 16th at the D+D REAL Czech Challenge.
“I have been playing really well the last couple of weeks, so I was really happy to be able to go out and keep it going.
“I got off to a great start after three birdies and I felt really comfortable out there. After making such a good start, and then getting to six under with five to go, I was aiming to get to seven or eight under really, but although I wasn’t able to do that it was a good first day’s work.
“The course is lovely – it has a really nice layout. The greens are running really nicely and it is a tough test as the fairways are quite narrow.
“You have a mixed approach out there really, as you have to go for a lot of drivers, but the wind today also allowed a lot of three irons off the tee.
“I have played well over the last few months without getting a big result, but I know my game is good.
“Today was the third time that I’ve recently been leading or close to leading after the first round, so hopefully I can keep this form going over the next three days.”
Joining Enoch at the top of the leaderboard after round one are no fewer than nine other players: England’s Matthew Baldwin and Charlie Ford, France’s Clément Sordet, Mathieu Fenasse and Adrien Bernadet, Scotland’s Jamie McLeary and Finland’s Antti Ahokas, Kalle Samooja and Janne Kaske.
On an excellent first day for the home nation, Finnish amateurs Sami Valimaki and Matias Honkala – both still teenagers – finished their first appearances on the Challenge Tour three under and two under par respectively.
Scores after Round One:
67 J McLeary (Sco) , C Sordet (Fra) , A Ahokas (Fin) , C Ford (Eng) , M Fenasse (Fra) , A Bernadet (Fra) , J Kaske (Fin) , M Baldwin (Eng) , R Enoch (Wal) , K Samooja (Fin) ,
68 P Maddy (Eng) , N Geyger (Chi) , P Howard (Eng) , E Van Rooyen (RSA) , J Bower (Eng) , S Forsström (Swe) , J Parry (Eng) , C Blomstrand (Swe) , M Kramer (Ger) , R James (Wal) , V Riu (Fra) ,
69 V Perez (Fra) , R McCarthy (Aus) , A Schwartz (Fra) , E España (Fra) , M Schwab (Aut) , R Hjelm (Den) , O Suhr (Den) , O Lengden (Swe) , A Tadini (Ita) , M Laskey (Wal) , C Aronsen (Nor) , M Rohwer (RSA) , P Tarver-Jones (Eng) , R Saxton (Ned) , S Piaget (Mon) , J Pastor (Esp) , A Wennstam (Swe) , C Koepka (USA) , S Valimaki (am) (Fin) ,
70 G Porteous (Eng) , M Perry (Nzl) , M Trappel (Aut) , L Ruuska (Fin) , C Braeunig (Ger) , N Lindstrom (Swe) , G Cambis (Fra) , M Nixon (Eng) , M Salminen (Fin) , J Winther (Den) , R Kakko (Fin) , J Allan (Eng) , B Eccles (Aus) , T Lawrence (RSA) , J Heath (Eng) , M Lampert (Ger) , S Brown (Eng) , F Maccario (Ita) , M Honkala (am) (Fin) ,
71 N Ravano (Ita) , N Cullen (Aus) , H Rönneblad (Swe) , M Madsen (Den) , M Orrin (Eng) , S Fernandez (Esp) , R Evans (Eng) , P Oriol (Esp) , O Wilson (Eng) , K Johannessen (Nor) , M Delpodio (Ita) , K Eriksson (Swe) , J Van Der Vaart (Ned) , M Ovesen (Den) , J McDonald (Sco) , S Kim (USA) , B Hellgren (Swe) , M Simonsen (Den) , O Floren (Swe) , A Pavan (Ita) , T Pulkkanen (Fin) , M Søgaard (Den) , B Virto (Esp) , R Gonzalez (Arg) , R Sciot-Siegrist (Fra) , R McIntyre (am) (Sco) ,
72 D Foos (Ger) , F Daux (Fra) , G Boyd (Eng) , J Hansen (Den) , O Lindell (Fin) , J Cafourek (Cze) , S Benson (Eng) , S Tiley (Eng) , E Di Nitto (Ita) , A Velasco (Esp) , B Easton (RSA) , T Bakker (Fin) , M Lafeber (Ned) , T Tree (Eng) , L Vaisanen (Fin) , G Yang (Kor) , P Mejow (Ger) , B Evans (Eng) , E Myllymaki (Fin) , J Dantorp (Swe) , N Johansson (Swe) , K Reitan (am) (Nor) ,
73 M Haastrup (Den) , O Farr (Wal) , H Casey (Eng) , J Kunzenbacher (Ger) , C Bouniol (Fra) , M Schneider (Ger) , J Garcia Pinto (Esp) , H Yamac (Tur) , A Lintunen (am) (Fin) ,
74 L Gagli (Ita) , J Lando Casanova (Fra) , F Laporta (Ita) , A Turner (Eng) , J Arnoy (Nor) , L Galliano (Sui) , K Kulokorpi (Fin) , K Phelan (Irl) , P Erofejeff (Fin) , D Law (Sco) , P Roos (Fin) , D Van Driel (Ned) , M Galiano Aguilar (Esp) , M Wiegele (Aut) , S Jeppesen (Swe) ,
75 J Makitalo (Fin) , T Salminen (Fin) , E Johansen (Nor) , R Charania (Ken) , T Ferrer (Esp) , S Henry (Sco) , A Altuntas (Tur) , G Forrest (Sco) , C Feldborg Nielsen (Swe) , N Hellberg (Fin) ,
76 C Selfridge (Nir) , J Girrbach (Sui) , J Marin (Esp) , P Gal (Cze) ,
77 M Ortolani (Ita) , F Bergamaschi (Ita) , S Hutsby (Eng) ,
78 N Møller (Den) , T Shadbolt (Eng) ,
79 J Senior (Eng) , K Hesbois (Bel) , P Valasek (Svk) ,
80 D Suchan (Cze) , J Ruponen (Fin) ,
81 S Akarsu (Tur) ,