Bourdy leads European Masters over Fisher and Hed after first-round 63

Gregory Bourdy at the Omega European Masters
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Gregory Bourdy reached the turn at 3 under par, then carded five birdies on his inward nine.
PA Sport

Series: European Tour

Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012 | 2:35 p.m.

CRANS MONTANA, Switzerland -- Frenchman Gregory Bourdy leads the Omega European Masters by two shots after a faultless 9-under-par opening round of 63 at Crans-sur-Sierre on Thursday.

Bourdy, starting on the 10th tee, reached the turn on 3 under par and then surged to the top of the leaderboard with five birdies from his inward nine holes.

"It was a great day. I don't think I've ever played better," said Bourdy, who earned top-20 finishes in each of his last two European Tour outings. "This course isn't the most difficult, but it's not the easiest either because you have to hit the ball very straight, and I managed to do that today.

"I only missed one shot all day, but still managed to save par," he added. "My attitude was very good; I was very positive and that's why I finished very well."

England's Oliver Fisher also completed the front nine of the course in 31, with five birdies, to finish the day in a two-way tie for second place with a 6-under-par round of 65.

Fisher was joined by Sweden's Fredrik Andersson Hed, who finished with four birdies on the last five holes to also record an opening round of 65 on a low-scoring day in the Swiss Alps.

Five players were tied for third place on 5 under par, with early pacesetters Rhys Davies of Wales, England's Robert Coles and India's Anirban Lahiri all shooting a 66. They were joined in the afternoon by Australian Scott Barr and England's David Howell. Seven players were one shot further back on 4 under.

Coles would have joined Fisher and Andersson Hed in second place had he not dropped his only shot of the day at 18. A three-time winner on the Challenge Tour, Coles turns 40 on Sunday and he is aiming to mark the occasion with his first European Tour victory.

"I'm hungrier than ever, because recently I've had chances to win, and I've started to believe that I can do it out here," Coles said. "Maybe earlier in my career I didn't truly believe I could win, but that's changed.

"The hunger comes from knowing you're capable, I just need to prove it. I'm probably hungrier now than I was in my twenties," he added. "To win any tournament would be great, but to win it on my birthday would be extra special. Although maybe they'll call it off on Saturday and we only play 54 holes, I could still win it as a 39-year-old!"

Scotland's Paul Lawrie and Sweden's Peter Hanson, the only members of Europe's Ryder Cup team playing this week, both opened with 2-under-par rounds of 69.

Back in Ryder Cup action for the first time in 13 years, Lawrie arrived in Switzerland fresh from his victory in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. His 69 featured three bogeys and five birdies.

It was up-and-down but not as eventful a round as Fabrizio Zanotti, who carded seven birdies and an eagle -- but also a a triple bogey and four bogeys to also be 2 under par.

Hanson's round was not smooth, either. The Swede was 3 over after bogeying the third, fifth and sixth holes but he recovered well to card five birdies.

Chinese amateur Andy Zhang, the 14-year-old who in June became the youngest ever player to qualify for the U.S. Open, went round in a 1-over-par 72.

Defending champion Thomas Bjorn opened with a 3-over 74, as did Kristoffer Broburg of Sweden, who is making his European Tour debut after roaring through the second-tier European Challege Tour this summer.