Round One Report
Lucas Bjerregaard and Ryan Evans mastered the windy conditions at Verdura Golf Club to share the lead after round one of the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open.
Bjerregaard had set the target at six under in the morning and with high winds for the later starters in Italy, it looked like he would take a solo lead into Friday.
The Dane has missed five of his first seven cuts this season but finished sixth at the Volvo China Open last month and now feels his game is going in the right direction as he looks to add to his maiden European Tour title at last season’s Portugal Masters.
Englishman Evans had other ideas, making four birdies to edge up the leaderboard and then eagling the par five ninth to join the Dane and lead the way by two shots from English trio Marcus Armitage, Daniel Brooks and Andy Sullivan, Brazilian Adilson da Silva and Spaniard Scott Fernandez at four under.
Da Silva was one of the few afternoon starters to get close to the lead, birdieing the 11th, 14th, 17th and second, with his only bogey coming at the sixth before he bounced back on the eighth.
South African Thomas Aiken, England’s Steven Brown, Frenchmen Julien Guerrier and Sébastien Gros, Norway’s Kristian Krogh Johannessen and South Korean Eunshin Park were then at three under.
Lucas Bjerregaard: “I haven’t played great this year but it feels like it’s coming back a little bit now. I played really well today. I had two good par saves on 17 and 18 that kept the round going but I just got a bit of momentum going in the end. It was a shame to finish off with a bogey, it would be have been nice to finish off with a clean card but in these conditions, but I’m quite happy with 65.
“There wasn’t much wind when we teed off but it didn’t take long for it to pick up. With the rough out there, it’s really tough as there are a few holes where you need to start the ball over the water and just hope the wind brings it back. It’s quite tough to even find your ball in the rough so it’s quite important to stay out of that.
“I haven’t played well this year but I found something in China and the things I’ve been working on for quite a while now seem to be coming around a little bit. I’m not going to go out and expect a whole lot just because of today – there’s a long way to go – but it’s nice to hit some good shots and play a bit better.
“It’s a lovely place to bring the family. They’re having a great time, a little pool time and a little relaxation, so it’s nice to have them here. It’s a lovely place with good food – it’s got everything we need here.”
Ryan Evans: “Pretty pleased with that really. Bit unfortunate with the flight being delayed coming out of Heathrow on Tuesday so I didn’t get in until 10pm late Tuesday night, and then played a late practice round yesterday and didn’t play the whole way round so, I played great today so no complaints.
“I have played steady this year but nothing spectacular. I’ve said to a couple of friends at home that I haven’t really had that six, seven under start in a tournament, you know I am always scrapping sort of one under, two under and just making the cut and not really doing much on the weekend. So it feel great to put a low one in for the first round.
“It was more on the range when I got here, I strengthened my left hand a little bit. I’ve always tried to weaken it off slightly, because I always thought it was strong, but I actually strengthened it and in this wind I felt like I controlled the ball well. Just a little tinker and I just hit it really nice.
“I’ll just go and play golf, what happens happens. I can’t change my mindset, I’m just going to go out there in the morning, you know we had real tough conditions out there this afternoon, it might be calmer tomorrow morning but that doesn’t make it any easier, you still have to go out and play good golf.
Andy Sullivan: “Just continued on my form really, I felt really confident in my game. I’m not hitting masses of balls because it’s been quite windy, so I felt pretty confident around the greens and I’ve been putting in a lot of work on them, and I just played really solid out there. I felt like having to move the ball both ways to really utilise the wind as much as you can. There’s a lot of crosswinds out there, which makes it tough.
“We had four holes without the wind and it was quite nice and an absolute bonus. The next hole was next to the sea and it started blowing and it was terrifying, but it’s just good fun. I think it’s just that type of golf where can enjoy it and you’ve got to try to create shots and play different shots you know so many times we play parkland and it’s just all through the air and balls stopping dead, so it’s nice to go out there and try to be creative.
“I feel like I’ve made a lot of birdies this year, so even if I didn’t (get off to a good start) I feel like I’ve got them in the bag to pull me out of trouble. My game is feeling in great shape and I’m going out there and making a lot of birdies at the moment so good start or bad start, I feel like I can turn it around and get off to a flier either way.”
“There’s nothing better. It’s been long overdue for me really, I feel like I’ve not hit the hearts of 2015 2016 so I think it’s time for me to really push on and try to get myself back on the right side of the leaderboard, get in the mix and enjoy the weekends more.”
65 L Bjerregaard (Den) , R Evans (Eng) ,
67 S Fernandez (Esp) , D Brooks (Eng) , A Sullivan (Eng) , A Da Silva (Bra) , M Armitage (Eng) ,
68 S Brown (Eng) , J Guerrier (Fra) , T Aiken (RSA) , E Park (Kor) , S Gros (Fra) , K Johannessen (Nor) ,
69 T Fisher Jnr (RSA) , M Schwab (Aut) , N Fung (Mas) , R Finch (Eng) , L Herbert (Aus) , F Laporta (Ita) ,
70 P Mejow (Ger) , G Bourdy (Fra) , T Murray (Eng) , N Cullen (Aus) , H Porteous (RSA) , H Leon (Chi) , L Canter (Eng) , M Korhonen (Fin) , M Baldwin (Eng) , S Webster (Eng) , P Waring (Eng) , A Connelly (Can) , M Lundberg (Swe) ,
71 T Lewis (Eng) , Z Lombard (RSA) , J White (Eng) , A Knappe (Ger) , M Fraser (Aus) , M Nixon (Eng) , B Stow (Eng) , M Tullo (Chi) , K Samooja (Fin) , T Bjørn (Den) , N Kimsey (Eng) , J Dantorp (Swe) , J Winther (Den) , C Ford (Eng) , C Bezuidenhout (RSA) , E Molinari (Ita) , J Lagergren (Swe) , M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) , L Slattery (Eng) , C Blomstrand (Swe) , A Romano (am) (Ita) ,
72 B Hafthorsson (Isl) , F Bergamaschi (Ita) , A Turner (Eng) , A Pavan (Ita) , M Ortolani (Ita) , L Gagli (Ita) , D Howell (Eng) , M Millar (Aus) , D Horsey (Eng) , P Oriol (Esp) , R Langasque (Fra) , E Pepperell (Eng) , J Kruyswijk (RSA) , S Chawrasia (Ind) , M Southgate (Eng) , G Migliozzi (Ita) , J Kruger (RSA) , C Koepka (USA) , P Angles (Esp) , M Manassero (Ita) ,
73 R McEvoy (Eng) , F Zucchetti (Ita) , A Saddier (Fra) , O Farr (Wal) , A Plant (Eng) , P Widegren (Swe) , J Walters (RSA) , C Mivis (Bel) , E Lipparelli (Ita) , N Johansson (Swe) , J Zunic (Aus) , V Perez (Fra) , E Johansen (Nor) , S Kjeldsen (Den) , N Geyger (Chi) ,
74 S Khan (Eng) , J Geary (Nzl) , C Syme (Sco) , J Janewattananond (Tha) , F Aguilar (Chi) , T Olesen (Den) , F Fritsch (Ger) , J Fahrbring (Swe) , P Gal (Cze) , E Cuartero Blanco (Esp) , D Stewart (Sco) , S Vincent (Zim) , A Tadini (Ita) , D Im (USA) , A Saracino (Ita) , O Lindell (Fin) , Ó Serna (Mex) , O Wilson (Eng) , N Bertasio (Ita) , T Pulkkanen (Fin) ,
75 R McGowan (Eng) , H Sturehed (Swe) , J Thomson (Eng) , S Heisele (Ger) , N Von Dellingshausen (Ger) , L Cianchetti (Ita) , A Sandhu (Ind) , J Vecchi Fossa (Ita) , E De La Riva (Esp) , B Evans (Eng) , J Morrison (Eng) , B Ritthammer (Ger) , G Manzoni (am) (Ita) ,
76 Y Touhami (Mar) , J Munro (Aus) , D Drysdale (Sco) , J Scrivener (Aus) , C Braeunig (Ger) , F Maccario (Ita) , M Schneider (Ger) ,
77 S Tiley (Eng) , M Lafeber (Ned) , J Quesne (Fra) , T Linard (Fra) , E Goya (Arg) , J Heath (Eng) , B Dredge (Wal) , R McGee (Irl) , M Cea (Ita) , P Bovari (am) (Ita) ,
78 R Cho (Kor) , S Horsfield (Eng) , E Di Nitto (Ita) , J Maw (Eng) , J Arnoy (Nor) , P Geerts (Ita) , A Michael (RSA) , J Stalter (Fra) , S Garcia Rodriguez (Esp) ,
79 A Quiros (Esp) , C Del Moral (Esp) , B Neil (Sco) , C Doak (Sco) ,
81 G Manfredi (am) (Ita) ,
82 J Carlsson (Swe) ,
84 M Foster (Eng) , J Sjöholm (Swe) ,
85 T Foster (Eng) ,