Donaldson leads at Czech Masters

Welshman Jamie Donaldson grabbed the overnight lead at the European Tour Czech Masters on Thursday after finishing a shot ahead of Swede Mikael Lundberg.

Donaldson started the first round in style with a birdie on the par-five first hole, but bogeyed the fourth to drop back. He went on to make up for it on the rest of the front nine, nailing birdies on the fourth, eighth and ninth holes.

The 38-year-old bogeyed again on the 11th hole but birdied the 12th, 14th, 17th and 18th to finish on a six-under 66.

Donaldson’s only previous European Tour victories came at the 2012 Irish Open and 2013 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, but he will be motivated to finish as high as possible to cement his place in the European Ryder Cup team.

Next week’s Italian Open offers the last opportunity to gain enough ranking points to finish in the top nine on the qualification table and seal an automatic qualification spot for Gleneagles.

While Donaldson is currently within the top nine, a poor finish combined with a high finish by one of the chasing pack could see him drop out.

Lundberg carded three birdies on the first five holes at the Albatross Golf Resort and three of the first four on the back nine, with a bogey on the seventh hole preventing him from tieing Donaldson for the lead.

Behind him ten players are currently tied for third on four-under, including England’s Paul Waring, Kenneth Ferrie, Danny Willett, Lee Slattery, Matthew Nixon and Sam Walker, and Scotland’s Craig Lee.