Molinari and Ramsay out in front

Richie Ramsay started like a house on fire at the Omega European Masters but was caught by Edoardo Molinari late in the day.

The duo hold a two-shot lead after the first round of the European Tour event at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland, having both opened with eight-under-par 62s.

Ramsay found himself four under after just three holes thanks to an eagle three at the opening hole and two more birdies at the second and third.

He added another birdie at the par-four seventh before picking up three more shots after the turn at 12, 13 and 15.

The Scotsman’s mark looked set to stand unopposed until Molinari, one of the final starters on the day, equalled the score.

The Italian, like Ramsay a two-time winner on Tour, also added a bogey-free round, picking up eight birdies on a productive day.

Ramsay said: “Four under through three holes was a nice way to start. I hit a great six iron into the first and then two more good iron shots into the next two, so I was flying at that point. It gave me a great boost and I managed to pick off a few more birdies after that.”

Asked if he had thoughts of a 59 following his blistering start, Ramsay replied: “On the 16th, I thought that if I could make my birdie putt I’d have a good chance, because the last two holes are decent chances for birdie. But once I missed the putt, I obviously knew the game was up.”

Ramsay and Molinari lead three players by two shots – Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Graeme Storm and Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin – all of whom opened with 64s.

Lurking just behind on five under, however, is Welshman Jamie Donaldson, fresh off a victory at the Czech Masters two weeks ago.

He is joined by David Lynn, Seve Benson, Michael Hoey, Raphael Jacquelin, Victor Dubuisson and Brooks Koepka.

Defending champion Thomas Bjorn of Denmark was in the clubhouse one shot further back on four under.

Bjorn said: “It was ideal this morning, although it was a bit cold early on. Usually that would mean the ball doesn’t go as far, but with the altitude that cancelled one another out.

“There was hardly any wind out there today, so the course was definitely there for the taking. I won’t be anywhere near the top of the leaderboard by the end of the day, but it’s still a reasonable enough start.”