CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland — South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence and Spain’s Alejandro Canizares share the lead following the opening round of the European Masters in Switzerland.
Lawrence chipped in for an eagle at his final hole, the par-5 ninth, after six birdies and no bogeys. He´s seeking a second title on the European tour this season that started back in November when he won the Joburg Open in his native South Africa.
Four players were tied for third, two shots back, in the bright sunshine and thin air at the Crans-sur-Sierre club. Matt Wallace, Louis de Jager, Eduardo de la Riva and Scott Jamieson all shot a 64.
Defending champion Rasmus Højgaard was among eight players one stroke further back.
A hole-in-one at the 170-yard third hole earned Aaron Cockerill 30,000 Swiss francs ($31,130) worth of life insurance provided by a sponsor.
On his 32nd appearance at the Swiss tournament at age 58, Miguel Angel Jimenez carded a 73. Jimenez won the title in 2010.
Lawrence had started on the back nine and picked up six birdies before holing out from 30 yards for an eagle on his closing hole, the par-five ninth.
“It was a great round. I started out really comfortable,” Canizares told Sky Sports.
“It felt almost like unconscious, which is the goal for a golfer to hit unconscious good shots – and that’s what I’m working on, trying to forget a little bit about technique and let it go.”
England’s Matt Wallace and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson were part of a four-strong group two shots off the lead on six under, with defending champion Rasmus Hojgaard another stroke back.
Hojgaard is bidding to join major champions Seve Ballesteros and Matt Fitzpatrick in claiming back-to-back titles in the Swiss Alps, while the 21-year-old would also love to emulate fellow Dane Thomas Bjorn in lifting the trophy for a second time.
Dimitrios Papadatos was te leading Australian after the first round, his two-under 68 putting him a shot ahead of his compatriots Jake McLeod and Scott Hend.