Simon Forsström carded his lowest round of the 2023 Race to Dubai as he took a one stroke lead after the first day of the Soudal Open.
The Swede made the turn in 32 strokes, four under par, and then carded three successive birdies from the 11th hole to sign for a bogey-free seven under par 64 at Rinkven International Golf Club in Belgium.
The 34-year-old is one stroke ahead of his compatriot Jens Dantorp, James Morrison and Andrew Wilson of England, and Germany’s Marcel Siem, who is seeking a second victory of the season after his win at the Hero Indian Open in February.
Siem carded nine birdies, including five on the back nine as he recovered from a double bogey on the tenth in his six under round of 65.
Thomas Detry, who is seeking a maiden victory on home soil this week, is leading the Belgian charge after carding a bogey-free four under par round of 67 to sit in a share of 14th place after the first round.
Simon Forsström: “Everything went very well. I hit the driver straight, put some shots very close and holed a couple of putts as well. Everything was rolling pretty well today.
“I’ve been playing pretty steady, making a lot of cuts and a couple of top tens. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and seeing what I can do, I feel like the game is pretty good now.
“I always enjoyed playing in Belgium when we played here on the Challenge Tour. I like the course because it’s narrow and not so long, so it should fit me well. When I saw it during the practice round I was very pleased with the course, I’m glad I could take advantage of it today.”
James Morrison: “It feels very, very good considering the golf I’ve been playing the last eight or nine months. It was a good day and to play that well around there is really enjoyable.
“I had a pretty slow start to the year. It’s been coming but the hardest thing in golf is patient and waiting for it. My iron play was better today. A tweak in my Callaway setup in my irons seemed to work today. It was good.”
Marcel Siem: “I played great and in the past it’s easy to make one bad shot and get whiney and feel like everything goes against you. I was like ‘come on, let’s get on with it’, keep playing like I did and make some birdies.
“It’s great out there with Nico (Colsaerts). Big crowds from German and Belgium. It was a lot of fun. I can’t wait to go out there tomorrow, especially after my seven over on Sunday in Italy. I’m so happy that I got that out the way again, sometimes you can stay in your head a bit. I’m really happy.”
Thomas Detry: “The course asks for a lot of good iron shots which, strangely enough, didn’t really happen for me today. But I feel like I played some really good golf though. A bit of a boring round really, hit a lot of fairways, pretty much every single green and made a few good putts on the front nine. I feel like I could have shot a bit better today, but still pleased with the way I started. I just had two weeks off and I feel very fresh, so it’s a good way to start.”