Elliot Saltman picked up three birdies in his last four holes to lead the PartyPoker.com European Championship at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent at six under.
The imposing Scotsman (pictured) began his round with four birdies in his first five holes to go out at four under par. He was five under after 12 but double bogeyed 14 to drop to three under. That blip didn’t throw Saltman (Aegon) and he composed himself to finish birdie-birdie-par-birdie and claim the lead by one stroke after a fine round of 66.
Saltman was the 22/1 third favourite with official bookmakers Sky Bet, and he will go out as the leader in the second round with a quartet of quality players a stroke behind him.
James Busby (The Shropshire, 35/1) heads that group with three-hole blitz on the back nine seeing him pressure Saltman, with birdies at 13 and 15 sandwiched an eagle at the 14th for a round of 67.
Scott Jamieson (25/1) will be keen to build on his run at the Green17 Faithlegg Championship in Ireland where a final round 77 scuppered his chances of victory after going into the last day with a share of the overnight lead. He finds himself in good shape after the opening day in Sandwich, starting on the back nine and picking up three birdies, then doing the same on the front nine but dropping a shot at the first.
Chris Hanson (Crosland Heath, 33/1) was the front-runner in the opening event at Collingtree Park and again finds himself in the mix thanks to a birdie at the last, while Nicky Harris (Whitefield GC, 60/1) finished with three birdies on the trot for his 67. The final player of the five at five under is Thomas Hobbs (Bramshott Hill GC, 400/1) who began on the back nine and has a trio of birdies at five, six and seven to thank for his position.
Phil Worthington (Donnington Grove), Craig Smith, Sam Hufton (Copt Heath), Ian Keenan (Royal Liverpool) and Daniel Gaunt (Burhill GC) shot four under rounds of 68 are hot on the tails of the those at four under going in Wednesday’s second round, while a host of players sit at three and two under par.
The full scores for the first round and live scoring for the rest of the tournament is available on the new online scoring system for the EuroPro Tour. This can be accessed by clicking on the Schedule link on the homepage and clicking on Leaderboard next to the PartyPoker.com European Championship entry, [url=http://europro.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/europro9/event/europro911/contest/1/leaderboard.htm]or by simply clicking this link.[/url]
Date Posted: 09/06/09, 7.30pm