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The opening round of the Costa Navarino Legends Tour Trophy saw some great scoring and the course record broken along the way too. A beautiful cloudless blue sky greeted the players at The Bay Course with hardly a breath of wind and receptive greens allowing the players to take on the golf course.

Frenchman Marc Farry hit the opening tee shot and would go on to card a round of 70, while his fellow Frenchman Rafaël Jacquelin, making his Legends Tour debut having turned 50 last month, would make a strong start with a round of 69 (-2).

Mikael Lundberg

Mikael Lundberg would set the benchmark from the early starters. The Swede finished 3rd in the opening event of the season, the Barbados Legends hosted by Ian Woosnam, carding a course record in the final round. This time he would start the week with a new course record – an unblemished round of 61 which included two eagles and six birdies – although he would not be leading at the end of the day.

It was an impressive round of golf, not least from a player who didn’t feel like he’d got his A-game throughout his practice rounds at Costa Navarino this week: “Yesterday I had one of the worst practice rounds ever and I was hitting the ball all over the place. I felt, where is my game going? This morning heading out I said we better find something – I kept the ball in play and I hit some really good shots. It’s one of those days when you make a lot of putts and you just have to appreciate those days.

“Yesterday it was going left and right, so I was just trying to get the swing speed down a little bit. I hit some good iron shots and as soon as I got in play it didn’t feel like I was going to be ever in trouble.

“On the 6th hole I was in between clubs and decided to go with a full seven iron. I thought get over the bunker, but I need to flush it and I just hit a beautiful shot which went to three feet. That was probably the best shot of the day and then I made a real nice eagle on 13, I hit the green in two and hit a beautiful path with my putter, as soon as it left the face I felt really good about it.

“I need to get that driver sorted. I mean, if I could squeeze by for another couple of rounds, but I want to play better. No matter how good you are, you can always get a little bit better. That’s the fun part of it – you never reach the end of this game!”

Robert Coles

Lundberg’s score left the rest of the field with pressure to keep themselves within touching distance of him, but on a day where the course offered little defence – England’s Robert Coles would put in a performance to place some serious pressure on the early clubhouse leader.

He would get to the turn seven under par having made an eagle and five birdies in his opening nine holes. On the back nine he carried on his purple patch of form with three consecutive birdies from the 12th to 14th holes to get into a share of the lead. Another birdie at 17 left him needing one more birdie for the first ever round of 59 on the Legends Tour, however, he would have the agony of seeing his attempt at the last from 15 feet merely nudge the right edge of the cup.

A round of 60 would put him top of the leaderboard though and complete an incredible day on the course: “I thought it was for a 59, but I wasn’t 100%, but I was trying not to think too much about it. But then when I tried to move my marker, I realized my fingers were shot – so that let me know in my own mind that it was probably for a 59.
“I played the par five holes well and hit it fairly close with my wedges. So, you know, you get a few wedges around this place when the greens are in great condition and it gives you the opportunity to make a score.
“The focus always seems deeper when you’re in those situations. I’ve never shot 59 or 60 before and even though the game didn’t feel amazing, it just seemed to be going the right way. It was something special and obviously a wonderful start, but there are two rounds still to go in the tournament.”

Scott Hend

No sooner than Coles had signed his card, Scott Hend matched his score with his own round of 60 – including a finish of seven under-par for his last seven holes. All that after making bogey at the second hole to be one over par after two holes. It was also all the more impressive coming from a player who got into Greece late and had just one day of practice: “I knew the scoring was going to be good on this course. It’s very, very gettable. I was hoping to get six or seven under and to get to what I did is a bonus.
“We were able to drive around yesterday, drove 36 holes and I probably played 27 or 28.
Sometimes things fall into place and you make the putts and that’s what comes along – that’s what we all strive for. It doesn’t come along very often, but when it does you like the feeling of all the hard work you’ve done.”

Chasing Pack

In the chasing pack Andrew Marshall would make a 64 (-7), Lionel Alexandre a 65 (-6) which was a score matched by both Christian Cévaër and Raymond Russell.

Rounds two and three of the Costa Navarino Legends Tour Trophy move to the International Olympic Academy Course at Costa Navarino, which is seen as a tougher test. There is a fascinating weekend ahead with three players into double digits under par and a total of 12cplayers within six shots of the lead, with two rounds to play.


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