Defending champion Billy Hemstock leads the 2014 Clipper Logistics Championship by two shots after the first round of the HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour event at Moor Allerton Golf Club in Leeds.
The Teignmouth golfer shot an opening-round six-under-par 65, despite bogeying the 14th and 15th. Alexander Holmes (Gorleston Golf Club), Charlie Lidyard (Leatherhead Golf Club) and Ben Loughrey (Wrag Barn Golf Club) are tied second on four under.
Hemstock won the £10,000 first prize in last year’s event and has been coming into form recently, finishing tied sixth at Concra Wood in Ireland a fortnight ago and tied fourth at Mount Wolseley, also in Ireland, last week.
“You feel pretty comfortable with the course,” he said of being defending champion. “It is the same as any other event really, you prepare in the same way, but you know you can do well here and that gives you a bit more confidence.
“The course is pretty much as it was last year. The overnight rain has certainly brought back memories of last year; it has made it quite soft. The game plan is pretty much identical and I am using the same course planner as last year.
“It is a great welcome here. I think there are a lot of good golfers at this club and they understand what it is like and they are very supportive of the event. I played the pro-am and a lot of the members came up to say hello which was nice.
“I made three birdies in a row on the front nine from holing some good putts today. I had another good putt at nine to go to four under and holed another putt at 11 for five under and I had a nice up and down for birdie at 12.
“But then 14, it is playing quite tough. It has a big dog leg left to right and the wind was off the right, you really do have to shape it. I hit it straight and left myself a long way in, then went in the left bunker and ended up making bogey and then I went into the trap on the right on the next and dropped another shot. But I hit it to about five feet on 16 and six feet on 17 for two birdies and then made a good par on the last.”
The Clipper Logistics Championship is a 54-hole strokeplay event with a cut to the leading 50 players and ties after 36 holes. The final round will be filmed for a two-hour highlights package to be broadcast on Tuesday, August 19 with repeats the following day.
Spectator entry is free throughout the week and live scoring can be found at www.europrotour.com.