France’s Gregory Bourdy set a new course record of seven-under-par 63 to lead the Iberdrola Open by one shot on Thursday as the Pula Golf Club remembered Spanish golf legend Severiano “Seve” Ballesteros.
Bourdy, who won his first career title at Pula in the 2007 Mallorca Classic, leads by a shot from Britain’s Danny Willett, with Briton Matthew Nixon and Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke together in third place, two shots off the lead.
“I feel very good and I like this course — I won three years ago so everything is great here,” said Bourdy, who has three European Tour titles to his name. “It’s always great to hold a course record. It’s very nice on Tour to get a score like this. I made nine birdies, only two or three mistakes, but it was a wonderful day.”
Bourdy, 29, went out in a five-under-par 31 after starting at the 10th and then birdied the first to complete a run of four successive gains.
He then holed a six-footer at the third and from 30 feet at the par-three eighth, with his two bogeys coming at the 15th and seventh.
Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who designed the course, returned a one-over 71.
The Spaniard and his predecessor Colin Montgomerie missed their practice round to attend Ballesteros’ funeral on Wednesday. Montgomerie dropped five shots in his last three holes for a 77.
Players and officials attended a memorial service at the course on Wednesday, while all 18 flags on the course were decked with black ribbons as a mark of respect for Ballesteros, who died last weekend.