Darren Wright carded a seven-under-par 64 to lead the HotelPlanner.com Championship by one stroke after the first round at Prince’s.
The event is the final HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour event of the regular season before the top 60 players on the Race To Desert Springs are invited to the Matchroom Sport Tour Championship.
Wright (Golf at Goodwood) currently sits third on the tour money list, from which the top five at the end of the season are awarded a card on next summer’s Challenge Tour. A strong finish at Prince’s would all-but confirm the 26-year-old’s graduation to European golf’s second-tier.
Warren Harmston (Wentworth Golf Club) and Matthew Haines (Rochester and Cobham Golf Club) are second on six under while seven golfers are just two back from the leader on five under.
“I played really well today,” said Wright. “I stayed patient. I was two under on the front nine but I had hit it close and missed a handful of chances. I knew if I stayed patient it would come on the back nine and I made a few birdies there and holed out from 72 yards for eagle on the par-five 15th.
“I really enjoy links golf. I did well here last year. One of the nines has changed so it is a slightly different course but it is the same feel. We were lucky enough to have pretty perfect golf conditions today.
“I have been playing well all year and staying patient through the year. I will go out there and keep doing what I have been doing. I can only do my best and see what happens at the end of the season.
“My main goal, like many others, is to win the Race To Desert Springs and I have put myself in a good position to do that. Hopefully I can follow up this first good round with a couple more and then see where I am going into Tour Championship.”
The HotelPlanner.com Championship is a 54-hole strokeplay event with a cut to the leading 50 players and ties made after the first 36 holes. The event takes place at Prince’s Golf Club from Wednesday, September 2 to Friday, September 4.
Spectator entry is free throughout the event and live scoring can be found at www.europrotour.com. The final round will be filmed for a two-hour highlights package to be broadcast on Sky Sports on Tuesday, September 15.