Green and Storm in clubhouse lead

European Tour

Richard Green and Graeme Storm shared the lead midway through Thursday’s first round of the Alstom French Open.

Richard Green and Graeme Storm shared the clubhouse lead midway through Thursday’s first round of the Alstom French Open at Le Golf National outside Paris.

Both shot impressive rounds of 65.

Green, who has yet to register a top ten finish this season, did it by picking up shots at the third and fourth holes before posting five birdies in six holes from the ninth to move to seven under.

A bogey at the par four 17th slowed the momentum of the lanky 40-year-old Australian, but he held his game together with a par at the 18th to finish with a 6-under total in a tie for the lead alongside Storm.

The Englishman who reached the turn in 34 courtesy of birdies at the third and fifth, picked up a further four shots on the back nine in his matching six-under 65.

Storm, who won this event in 2007, said: “There’s always added pressure when you come back because people say things ‘You won on one of the toughest courses in Europe so you obviously like it around that course.’

“I do, without a doubt, but you’ve still got to put the work in and do all the preparation.

“It’s just another week, it’s another tournament and you’ve got to treat it like that, but don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic to always come back and know that you’ve won around here.”

Green and Storm were three ahead of a log-jam of players that included rookie Matthew Nixon, a 22-year-old who briefly moved to five under before bogeys at 13 and 18 slowed him up

Jeppe Huldahl, Thongchai Jaidee, Michael Jonzon, Mark Foster, Jeev Milkha Singh, Anthony Wall, Julien Guerrier and Peter Whiteford also carded first round 68s.

Huldahl was pretty happy with his day.

“You always take a score like that around here. I’m really pleased.

“This course is never easy. We had pretty good conditions today, not too much wind, but still, those last four holes, you don’t really want to play them even though they are great holes. It is a tough course.”

Whiteford, who enjoyed three successive top ten finishes before missing the cut at last week’s BMW International Open, said: “The short game was great today, so three under was a good score.”

Last year’s Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie – runner-up three years ago and looking for a top five finish to secure a place in The Open Championship – was going well at two under, but then bogeyed two of his last three for a 71.

Martin Kaymer, another former winner at Le Golf National, could only muster a one over par 72 – not what he wanted in a week when a top eight finish this week would see the German reclaim the World Number Three ranking from US Open Champion Rory McIlroy.

Defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez, Italian teenager Matteo Manassero and American Ryder Cup player Bubba Watson were among the later starters.

Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg and South African Jaco van Zyl were both disqualified due to a serious breach of the water hazard rules on hole 18. Each player failed to use the correct dropping area.

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