Stanislav Matus shot the lowest round of the European Challenge Tour season to lead by two shots at the Bridgestone Challenge after an opening round of 61, ten under par.
Matus carded his bogey-free round to tie the course-record at Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf and Spa and take pole position following his stunning run of seven successive birdies on his back nine on Day One.
The Czech begin his round with three gains in his first nine holes, including back-to-back birdies before the turn. He then closed the gap on the morning pacesetters Dimitrios Papadatos and Sebastian Soderberg, who topped the leaderboard on eight under par, before he raced past them.
The 29 year old birdied five consecutive holes from the second, his 11th hole, to tie with the pair, then accelerated into first place with a further two successive birdies before a par on the last sealed top spot and his lowest round on the Challenge Tour.
Suffering a poor season so far, Matus was delighted with his display and hopes to keep his game moving in the right direction.
“For this round I freed myself up and just hit it, that’s all it was,” he said. “I hit the ball well and made some great putts because everything was within 15 to 20 feet.
“It was one of those days where you don’t even have to take a practise swing because you feel so good. I kept myself going with some positive thinking and I’m really happy with the round.
“After finishing ten holes we stopped for a while because it was a par five and players were waiting, and I didn’t want to stop because I didn’t want to lose my tempo. At that point I was three under par and that was a good score. Then all of a sudden, my game just clicked, and I went boom, boom, boom, and the back nine went very quickly.
“It’s a big confidence boost because the season isn’t going very well and it’s not the way I want it to be. We still have three rounds to go and there is plenty of golf left, so I have to focus on the next round.”
Papadatos and Soderberg shared the lead following their early morning rounds but lie two shots behind the Czech after their rounds of 63. They were joined in second place by England’s Tom Lewis and English amateur Thomas Sloman, who both shot bogey-free eight under par rounds of 63 late in the afternoon.