Bourdy leads after course record

Frenchman Gregory Bourdy shot a course-record 63 to lead the Iberdrola Open in Mallorca by one on Thursday.

Frenchman Gregory Bourdy shot a course-record 63 to lead the Iberdrola Open in Mallorca by one on Thursday.

Bourdy, a 29-year-old who has three wins on the European Tour and is already a runner-up in Malaysia this year, moved into the lead with a blistering 31 on his first nine, having starting at the tenth, and never looked back – eventually finishing up with nine birdies in all.

“It’s always great to hold a course record. It’s very nice on Tour to get a score like this,” said Bourdy after his round.

“I made nine birdies, only two or three mistakes but it was a wonderful day.

“I had a difficult hole on seven, making a very good bogey, and on 15 where I missed an easy shot – but the rest was magnificent. I played my best game ever.”

Bourdy leads by one over England’s Danny Willett, alone in second after a round that would have equalled Bourdy’s but for a solitary bogey on the 12th.

“It was really good today, as the last few weeks on Tour have been,” said Willett, still seeking his maiden European Tour win.

“I have had some really good finishes and results recently but been struggling with the putter a little bit so today was better on that front. Today was good – Gregory holed a few and then we followed him. It’s a good score at the end of the day.”

A further shot behind Willett is a resurgent Darren Clarke, who rediscovered some of his old form on the day, eventually carding a five-under-par 65.

Clarke has found golf a struggle so far in 2011, with just one top-ten to his name after enduring a 2010 that was hardly any better, a rare highlight being when he came close to winning the Scottish Open in July, eventually finishing second to Italy’s Edoardo Molinari.

But the current World No 124 brought back memories of glories past on Thursday with a performance that has given him a chance at his first European Tour title since 2008.

He made a lively start to his round, picking up shots at the first two holes and then bogeying the next two, before claiming five more birdies on his way into the clubhouse.

England’s Matthew Nixon shares third place with Clarke after two birdies in his final three holes.

Welshman Rhys Davies was a further shot back after a 66, while England’s Chris Wood, Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, Argentina’s Cesar Monasterio and South African Jaco van Zyl tied for sixth after respective 67s.

Ryder Cup captains Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal had wildly varying fortunes – Montgomerie had a miserable round, carding a seven-over 77, while Olazabal is still in the picture thanks to a 71.