Spe 07, 2018: Maximilian Kieffer fired his lowest opening round for five years to take the lead after day one of the Omega European Masters. Indian Duo S.S.P. Chawrasia and Shubhankar Sharma shot 69 and 72 respectively in the first round.
Chawrasia shot four birdies and three bogeys to score one-under-par 69 and tie for 37th place. While Sharma scored two birdies and four bogeys to close the first round with two-over 72.
The German, Kieffer birdied three of his last five holes at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club on the way to a 64 that left him at six under, a shot clear of Frenchman Julien Guerrier, Dane Søren Kjeldsen, England’s Andy Sullivan and Japanese Hideto Tanihara.
Scot David Drysdale, Spaniard Nacho Elvira and South African pair Erik van Rooyen and Justin Walters were then two shots off the lead.
Kieffer has established himself as one of the most consistent players on the European Tour since graduating from the Challenge Tour in 2012, keeping his card every season since.
He recently finished third at the Nordea Masters for his first top ten of the season and is glad the hard work is paying off after moving to a new coach.
“I managed to stay out of the trouble today and played nicely,” he said. “It was a good day, I played very good tee to green and holed a few putts so I can’t complain.
“I have played very well the last couple of weeks and have been hitting the ball nicely since Sweden and the putting feels okay as well, so just trying to stay calm with the mind and hopefully keep the confidence up.
“I changed coach a couple of months ago now and that work really pays off now. My mind is okay at the moment and the putter so those three things are a good step.”
Sullivan made four birdies in a row from the 12th and then added another on the 17th to turn in 30 and jump into a two-shot lead.
Kjeldsen made birdies on the second, fifth, seventh and tenth and with Sullivan making a bogey on the fourth, the lead was shared.
I played very good tee to green and holed a few putts so I can’t complain – Maximilian Kieffer
Kieffer made gains on the fifth, seventh, eighth and 11th to make it a four-way tie but Kjeldsen got on the green on the par five 14th in two for a birdie of his own and the solo lead.
A Sullivan bogey on the sixth and a dropped shot from Kieffer on the 12th meant Kjeldsen led by two but he was soon reeled in.
Sullivan got up and down from the front of the driveable par four seventh and then did the same again on the par five ninth as he and Kjeldsen set the clubhouse target.
Kieffer was not done, however, and he made the most of the back-to-back par fives at the 14th and 15th before birdieing the par three 16th to hit the front on his own.
Guerrier had started with a bogey on the tenth but he went birdie-eagle on the 14th and 15th and came home in 32 with birdies on the first, sixth and seventh.
In the windier afternoon conditions, Tanihara birdied the tenth, 14th, 15th, 16th and second and when he put his tee-shot to eight feet on the par three third, he shared the lead. He dropped a shot on the sixth but picked it straight back up on the next before getting in trouble off the tee on the ninth.
Drysdale made a single bogey in his 66, while Elvira and Walters both dropped two shots, with the latter also making an eagle on the 15th.
Van Rooyen had more of a roller coaster of a round, closing with his seventh and eighth birdies of the day but also making four bogeys.
Belgian pair Thomas Detry and Thomas Pieters, New Zealander Ryan Fox, Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal, French duo Alexander Levy and Matthieu Pavon, England’s Aaron Rai and South African Charl Schwartzel were all at three under.