Luke Joy and Max Smith share a one-stroke lead on two under par after the opening round of the Motocaddy Masters at Wensum Valley Hotel, Golf and Country club in Norfolk.
Elliot Saltman and Billy Fowles are tied third in the first event of the 888poker.com PGA EuroPro Tour season, with James Maw and David Rawluk a further shot behind on level par.
Joy (Broadstone Golf Club) and Smith (Donnington Grove Country Club) signed for 71s on the par-73 Wensum Course on Tuesday. Smith made birdies at eight, 14 and 15 but bogeyed the 17th to deny himself the outright 18-hole lead.
Joy’s round was more of a mixed bag with three bogeys and five birdies. The 24-year-old made his 888poker.com PGA EuroPro Tour debut last year and gained a high category at this season’s Qualifying School, where he finished tied sixth from a Final Stage field of 240 golfers.
“I played really solid today,” said Joy after his first round. “I got off to a solid start and shot five birdies but I had a bit of a wobble on ten and 11, which are tough holes.
“You have to be quite strategic off the tee here. You have to hit driver quite a lot and it is imperative to find the fairway otherwise you are chipping out all of the time.
“I am playing very nice at the moment and putting really well which is nice. I think it is a matter of time until I get a really low one in there.”
Saltman (Archerfield Links) missed out on the Challenge Tour card that comes with finishing in the top five on the 888poker.com PGA EuroPro Tour Order of Merit last year by just £73 and had to recover from a double-bogey six on the first to record an opening-round 72 and share third place with Wentworth-based Fowles.
Former Premier League footballer Jimmy Bullard shot a 79 in his first tournament round as a professional golfer. The 34-year-old steadied after starting with four bogeys and a double over the first five holes. He birdied 12 but bogeys at 15 and 16 took him to six over.
The Motocaddy Masters is a 54-hole strokeplay event. The second round will be played on Wednesday, May 1 after which a cut will be made with the leading 50 players plus ties playing a final 18 holes on Thursday, May 2.
Spectator entry is free of charge throughout the event. Sky Sports will be at the course on both Wednesday and Thursday filming for a highlights package to be screened on Wednesday, May 15.