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James Sugrue leads The Vierumäki Finnish Challenge


James Sugrue, pictured above at the recent Irish Challenge, leads after the opening round in Finland, Credit: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images.

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Mallow golfer James Sugrue carded a fine seven under par opening round 65 to set the pace at The Vierumäki Finnish Challenge.

The 25-year-old carded six birdies and eagled his final hole to take the outright lead after day one at Vierumäki Resort.

“I drove the ball very well and putted well” the Corkman said. “I think I had eight putts through nine so I one-putted every green and holed out from a bunker, so I didn’t have to use the putter too much on the front nine!”

Sugrue used borrowed clubs

Like a number of his fellow professionals across the men’s and women’s game, Sugrue’s golf clubs were lost in transit but the Irishman managed to secure a loan set from a former DP World Tour player.

“The clubs aren’t mine, I lost my clubs coming here, so I got a set off Mikko Illonen and they are very nice, I might have to hold on to them!

“Just more of the same tomorrow, I’m really comfortable with that driver, every time I tee it up I think it is going to be a good one. We’ll just see where it takes us.”

Three-way tie for second spot

Finland’s Antii Ahokas and Italian’s Fillipo Bergamaschi and Michele Ortolini are in a three way-way tie for second place after the first round after the trio carded six under par rounds of 66.

Ahokas who won twice on the Challenge Tour in 2008 before struggling to maintain consistent form for much of the follow decade gave the leader board a home flavour.

”I haven’t played in front of a crowd for a while, so I was just trying to stay in my own bubble’ he admitted.  It was something I enjoyed but at the same time I focused on my own thing, but obviously it gives you energy.

“Quite a few people here now, this tournament is a couple of weeks earlier than normal, people are still on holidays, it is a warm week.  I think we’ll get some more crowds here, which is fantastic.”

Martin Simonsen of Denmark, ranked tenth in the Road to Mallorca standings, is the pick of a bunch of players one stroke back on five under, with Spaniard, Alejandro Del Rey, the highest ranked player in the field, also well placed after an opening three under par 69.

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