Steve Uzzell fired a glorious round of 63 to take a one shot lead on the first day of the 888poker.com Tour Championship at the Mar Menor Golf Resort in Murcia, Spain.
The Hornsea-based player birdied the first two holes and stood two under par at the turn, then compiled a blistering inward nine of 29, with birdies at the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 17th, to finish eight under.
It’s the final event of the 2011 PGA EuroPro Tour season, with the top five on the final money list to land a coveted place on next season’s Challenge Tour. Chris Hanson and Graeme Clark are the only players guaranteed to finish among the top five, so there are three places up for grabs this week.
From the Challenge Tour, it’s just one step up to the European Tour and the chance to compete for millions of pounds against the world’s best players. Last weekend, former EuroPro Tour player Michael Hoey took the 588,000 Euro first prize by holding off Rory McIlroy and co at the Dunhill Links Championship, and all of those in action in Spain this week dream of following his example.
In second place at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Mar Menor is Adam Hodkinson, who had one bogey and eight brdies, including four in a row from the 13th, to finish seven under.
Five players are tied on six under: Steve Surry, Billy Hemstock, James Maw, James Busby and Jason Levermore. Busby, who has finished second in three events this season, lies fifth on the money list so just needs to hold his position to secure promotion. He had seven birdies today, his only blemish a bogey at the 15th.
Round two is on Thursday, and there is no cut before the final round on Friday.
888poker.com Tour Championship
Day one leaderboard
1 Steve Uzzell (Hornsea Golf Club) -8 (63)
2 Adam Hodkinson (GRI Group) 7 (64)
T3 Steve Surry (Cumberwell Park) -6 (65)
T3 Billy Hemstock (Teignmouth) -6 (65)
T3 James Maw (Hallowes Golf Club) -6 (65)
T3 Jason Levermore (Clacton) -6 (65)
T3 James Busby (The Shropshire) -6 (65)
T8 Shaun McAllister (Craigielaw golf club) -5 (66)
T8 Darryn Lloyd (Acrabuild Ltd/W.Ash & Sons) -5 (66)
T10 Chris Kelly (Cawder Golf Club) -4 (67)
T10 George Cowan (Westerhope Golf Club) -4 (67)
T10 Duncan Stewart (Grantown on Spey) -4 (67)