Mario Galiano Aguilar and Sebastian Soderberg both carded seven under par rounds of 64 to sit one shot ahead of the rest of the field after the first round of the Italian Challenge presented by Cashback World.
The pair both excelled on the first day at Sardinia’s Is Molas Resort, making the most of calm conditions to sit one clear of England’s Jack Singh Brar and Norway’s Eirik Tage Johansen after 18 holes.
Spain’s Galiano Aguilar notched eight birdies and dropped one shot en route to carding the lowest round in his European Challenge Tour career to take the clubhouse lead, which Sweden’s Soderberg matched by bagging seven birdies for his bogey-free score.
Soderberg, who lies in 11th place on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah this season after three top ten finishes, was delighted to return to form following a poor run of recent results.
“It was good out there,” he said. “I got off to a hot start and then made a lot of pars towards the end, and then got a few extra birdies on the final few holes which was nice.
“My golf hasn’t felt too good during the last few weeks. I’m coming off two bad weeks and I’m trying to fight back, so it was nice to shoot a good round today.
“Conditions were fairly easy this morning. There was barely any wind, just a touch of breeze, so you could attack most of the flags.
“The greens are a little tricky, so it helps when you can get close to the pins. I’ve been hitting my wedges really well which gave me plenty of opportunities to score.”
Hot on the heels of the leaders are Johansen and Singh Brar, who both signed for six under par rounds of 65 to sit one shot off the pace after the opening round.
Englishman Singh Brar went bogey-free in the Sardinia sunshine as he continued his impressive rookie season on the Challenge Tour. While Denmark’s Johansen was pleased to put himself in contention after his lowest round of 2018.
“I’ve made a lot of cuts this year but haven’t been able to record a big finish yet,” said Johansen. “I had a top ten result in Saint Omer, which was good, but I’m hoping to build on that and sneak an even better finish at the end of the week.”
Also impressing in Italy was home favourite Filippo Bergamaschi, who is in the mix after carding five birdies and one bogey to post a four under par score of 67.