Mikael Lundberg from Sweden (pictured by Getty Images) shares the first round lead at the 2014 Lyoness Open Golf in Austria at Diamond Country Club and is in pole position for a first European Tour title for six years.
The 2005 and 2008 Russian Open Champion has had to come through European Tour Qualifying School the past three seasons but fired a five under par 67 to join Adam Gee from England at the top of the Austrian golf leaderboard.
Lundberg carded six birdies and dropped one shot, while Gee holed his approach for eagle at the 13th hole before adding four sub par figures and dropping his only shot at the 18th hole.
Gee, who also came through the European Tour Qualifying School in November to secure a card on the 2014 Race to Dubai, was relieved to have missed the morning’s high winds, with the top five comprised entirely of afternoon starters.
Former top NCAA Collegiate golfer Rhys Davies from Wales, American Berry Henson who played on the Asian Tour and English pair Matthew Baldwin and Richard Finch are a stroke further back. Home favourite Bernd Wiesberger is on one under par and defending champion Joost Luiten from Holland sits on on level par.
On a crowded leaderboard a further 19 players were within three shots of the lead, including France’s Thomas Levet, who compared his golf to that of the late Seve Ballesteros after an erratic 69. Levet, infamously broke his leg when celebrating his last European Tour title in the 2011 Alstom Open de France by diving into a greenside lake.
The best example of that came on the par five 15th, where Levet hit his drive 100 yards right off the tee but stopped just short of a water hazard. From there he opted to play down a different fairway, then hit a two iron from 227 yards to eight feet and holed out for birdie.
Local favourite Wiesberger’s US Open hopes remain in the balance after an opening 71 marred by a double-bogey six on his penultimate hole.
Wiesberger needs to repeat his 2012 triumph in his home event or finish second on his own to qualify for the second Major of the season at Pinehurst next week by moving inside the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking from his current position of 69th.
Another “local” favourite, Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez, went one better than playing partner Wiesberger with a round of 70, the 50 year old having moved to Vienna following his recent wedding to Austrian Susanne Styblo.
Source: European Tour