Josh Geary has returned to form on the first day of the Challenge Trophy in the Netherlands with a first round 4-under 67.
Geary shot four birdies and an eagle in the round that has him placed tied for 7th at The Dutch in Spijk.
Fellow Kiwi Daniel Hillier had a tougher round with only two birdies and a bogey to finish with a 1-under 70.
Marcus Helligkilde will take a two-stroke lead into day two after posting an impressive 8-under par opening round of 63, two shots clear of Lukas Nemecz who signed for a 6-under par round of 65.
The Dane, who recently picked up his maiden European Challenge Tour victory at the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge in wire-to-wire fashion, admitted he was mentally and physically exhausted and therefore, surprised himself with such a strong performance in round one in The Netherlands.
“It feels amazing,” he said. “18 minutes before my tee time I called my coach and told him I was too tired and had no golf game to give. He told me to focus on every single shot and just enjoy the company you’re in out there. Before this I thought I would miss the cut to be honest, but it just happened, and I was gaining about five strokes on the greens which was nice. I’m still tired and I’m looking forward to having a week off next week, but I’m delighted to shoot 8-under today.
“Self-confidence is key, but I think the biggest part was having a plan today and just sticking to it. Sometimes I didn’t want to be out here but having a plan makes it so much easier to stick to it and execute it on every single shot and reflect on that.”
View this post on Instagram
England’s Andrew Wilson, Swede Robin Petersson, Robin Dawson of Ireland and Dutchman Mike Toorop share third place on five under par, while Road to Mallorca Number One Santiago Tarrio is one of six players a shot further back on four under par.
Geary will tee off at 6.40pm NZT Friday while Hillier is off at 12.20am NZT on Saturday morning.