On a blisteringly hot day at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club, on the outskirts of Stockholm, the duo shot sizzling five under par rounds of 67 and were joined at the head of affairs by the French duo of Clément Berardo and Sébastien Gros, Scotland’s Scot Henry and Florian Fritsch of Germany.
Lee Westwood, a three-time winner of this tournament, lurks menacingly on four under par after mixing six birdies with two bogeys in his round of 68. The Ryder Cup star was joined in a share of seventh place by, among others, his fellow former winner Mikko Ilonen plus compatriots Ross Fisher, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Matt Wallace, who has claimed an astonishing four successive titles on the Alps Tour.
Henrik Stenson fared less well, signing for a level par round of 72 to end day one in a share of 63rd place. Much of the damage was done on a front nine of 38 which included a double bogey on the signature 17th hole, where his tee shot found a watery grave. However, the home hero did stage a late rally, picking up three shots in his final five holes to climb back up the leaderboard.
“It’s a great start, said Warren. “The wind was starting to pick up towards the end of our round, so conditions got a bit trickier, but the course was immaculate and the greens were perfect, so I was still able to make some birdies and walk off with a very nice score.
“Things have been a lot better in the last few weeks. I’ve been making a lot more birdies and making a lot less mistakes, so that’s a pretty good combination.”
Westwood is a three-time winner of this event and was happy with his start. “I played very solid for the most part, bit sloppy in places, especially the par five fourth hole. But overall I struck the ball well and I was pretty pleased with my putting, I hit a lot of good putts on the right lines, and although not all of them went in, a fair few did. So I’m happy.
“I’m still as competitive as ever and I still feel I’m more than good enough to win when I’m on song. I’ve been looking forward to this tournament for a while because I’ve got a good record here, so it’s nice to get off to a strong start and hopefully I can keep it going.”
Richard Green is the leading Australian after an opening round of 69 and two from the lead while Scott Hend opened with a round of 70.
Hend has finished 4th at this venue previously and it was an encouraging bounce-back after a horror final round at the BMW PGA Championship last Sunday and a follow up round of 78 in Sectional Qualifying for the US Open on Monday.
Leading first round scores
67 C Berardo (Fra), S Gross (Fra), S Henry (Scow), A Johnston (Eng.), M Warren (Scow), F Fritsch (Ger.)
68 A Bjork (Sew), L Westwood (Eng.), R Fisher (Eng.), M Wallace (Eng.), M Ilonen (Fin), M Fitzpatrick (Eng.), N Fast (Sew), J Shohola (Sew),
69 T Lenard (Fra), B Kasson (Sew), A Noreen (Sew), R Green (Aus), C Bookstand (Sew), M Honey (Nar), C Shin win (Eng.), R Johnson (Sew), S Hansen (Den), R Carlson (Sew), T Bjorn (Den), H Piteous (RSA),
70 R Karlberg (Sew), S Lee (Kora), J Queens (Fra), J Lima (Poor), D Dixon (Eng.), J Morrison (Eng.), R Wattle (Fra), N Colsaerts (Bel), K Broberg (Swe), A Wu (Chn), P Dunne (Irl), O Wilson (Eng), P Meesawat (Tha), J Hansen (Den), J Lagergren (Swe), R Jacquelin (Fra), J Dantorp (Swe), S Hend (Aus),
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