CHAMBOURCY, France (AP) — Sweden’s Johan Edfors shot an 11-under 61 to open a two-shot lead after the first round of the Vivendi Cup on Thursday.
David Dixon was in second place, followed another stroke back by John Parry and Jean-Francois Remesey. All four of those players played their rounds on the Marly course, while Chris Gane posted the best effort on the slightly longer Retz course with a 7-under 65.
Padraig Harrington is the only member of Europe’s Ryder Cup team at the Golf de Joyenval Club, following the withdrawal of Peter Hanson due to illness. Harrington shot 4-under 68.
The Irishman added the event to his schedule at late notice in a bid to find some form ahead of next week’s Ryder Cup, and despite three-putting from close on three occasions, he said he was satisfied with his effort.
“There was some poor routine, and you never pick that up on a range when you are raking golf balls and hitting hundreds of shots in a row,” he said. “I can see it out on the golf course and today it was good at times and other times not so good. So another three rounds of golf here in Paris would be very good for me.”
Edfors said he was chasing a 59 – even though it would not have officially counted as the first in the history of the European Tour because preferred lies were in place.
“I was playing really nice out there and was thinking about a 59,” he said. “I lipped out on my eagle attempt at the ninth hole and then I missed the return putt, so I three-putted there, but the course was pretty much set up for me. The fairways are pretty wide and there is not very much rough so I can give the ball a little extra bash.”
Parry, who is in his first season on the European Tour, said he also was thinking of 59.
“When I got to 8 under through only 12 holes, I thought I had a good chance, but then I missed a birdie opportunity as the par-5 13th and lost some momentum,” he said.
The low scoring on the opening day was not just due to the players being able to pick and place their balls on the fairways.
The Vivendi Cup, which has a pro-am format for the first two rounds, is being played on two courses, both of which are much shorter than those found at most normal European tournament venues. The Marly course is just 6,754 yards while the Retz is 6,811 yards.