Ireland’s Peter Lawrie, who finished runner-up at last season’s Czech Open, began his campaign to go one better this year with a one-shot lead after the first round on Thursday.
The 37-year-old carded a bogey-free, six-under-par 66 at the Prosper Golf Resort to lead by one shot from compatriot Damien McGrane, Spain’s Pedro Oriol and France’s Victor Dubuisson.
“The course is playing totally differently this year to last year,” Lawrie said. “It’s much softer. You’re hitting your driver on pretty much every hole and the ball’s not running out in any shape or form. The par-fives are all out of reach for me, so my short game has to be good, and you have to be quite accurate around here.”
Lawrie, runner-up to Peter Hanson last year, started on the back nine and birdied the 11th and 14th holes to turn in 34.
He then birdied the first, fifth and sixth holes, before finishing in style at the eighth.
McGrane also had six birdies, with the best coming courtesy of a 40-foot putt on the seventh hole, but unlike Lawrie, he registered a bogey at the 17th.