Edfors blazes into Vivendi lead
Padraig Harrington grabbed seven birdies and yet still found himself seven shots off the pace on day one of the Vivendi Cup.
Padraig Harrington grabbed seven birdies and yet still found himself seven shots off the lead after the opening day of the Vivendi Cup in Paris.
Left as the only member of next week’s Ryder Cup side in the field after the withdrawal of Swede Peter Hanson with a chest infection, Harrington signed for a four under par 68.
But an hour later Swede Johan Edfors completed a 61 which equalled the lowest round of the European Tour season and knocked two strokes off the colourful Swede’s best score on the circuit.
Edfors had five birdies in an outward 31 and then started for home with three more birdies and an eagle.
The Tour’s first-ever 59 was a possibility at that stage, but the former Scottish Open and British Masters champion bogeyed the next before finishing with two more birdies.
It gave him a two-shot lead over England’s David Dixon, while the scoring was such that Harrington did not even make the top 20.
Originally hoping to be in Atlanta for the Tour Championship and its amazing £7.2million jackpot, controversial wild card pick Harrington fell out of the FedEx Cup play-offs at the halfway stage and decided to add this smaller event to his schedule to help him hone his game for the Ryder Cup.
He was three under after six, but mixed three bogeys with his four other birdies playing alongside his older brother Fergal in the pro-am format.
Harrington said: “If I had putted well it would have been a tremendous score – you have to hole putts to shoot a low number.
“I could see the two weeks of practice I’ve just done and I got stalled over the ball a bit, but another three rounds will do me no end of good.”
Dixon’s compatriot John Parry and two-time French Open champion Jean-Francois Remesy, now 46 and without a European Tour card, shared third following eight-under rounds of 64.
The top four all played the Marly course. On the adjoining Retz, left-hander Chris Gane and France’s Julien Guerrier did best with 65s.
The field switches lay-outs tomorrow before the event drops the amateurs and concludes with two more rounds on the Marly.
Edfors said: “I’m still a little bit disappointed. I don’t think I’ll ever get a better chance to shoot 59 than I had today.
“I was 10 under with five to go, had 80 metres left on 14 in the middle of the fairway and I three-putted.”
Not much has been heard about Remesy lately. That’s because he is now ranked 1,111th in the world, but the 46-year-old Frenchman has suddenly given himself the chance to make a huge leap back up.
Playing in just his third European Tour event of the season, he posted an eight under par and is in a tie for third, three shots behind Edfors.
Remesy lost his Tour card two years ago and saw it not as a crisis, but as an opportunity to take a break from the game.
“I had to – I was tired,” he said. “Now I am just enjoying playing in France as always.
“I don’t have to prove anything, but I have four years to the Seniors Tour, so that’s why I keep playing and why I asked for an invite here.”
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