19th October 2017 | Alps Tour Golf
McDonald and Rozner co-leaders
Perfect golfing conditions prevailed during the opening round of the Grand Final at Golf des Iles Borromees. The lightest of breezes and sunshine met the 43 players battling for the last tournament of the season.
It was the 24-year-old Scotsman Jack McDonald who took the clubhouse lead early on with a six under 65. The colourful scorecard included three bogeys, 5 birdies and two eagles, coming on the 6th where he chipped in from the front of the green and the 11th where he put a 5 iron to 20 feet and holed the putt.
McDonald said: “I got off to quite a poor start, I was a couple over after 5 and then eagled 6 and birdied 7 which got me going. I managed another eagle on 11, then made some solid birdies and tap in pars.
I like the course, it’s nice, there are a few tricky tee shots but if you get through them, there are a lot of chances, and the greens are great as well.”
McDonald had a glittering amateur career, and followed in his grandfather’s footsteps by being part of a victorious Walker Cup team in 2014.
By coincidence, sharing the same birthday as McDonald, 12 February 1993, Antoine Rozner also carded a six under 65 including one double bogey, three bogeys and an incredible 11 birdies.
“It was a crazy round, I don’t know if I have made that many birdies in a round before. I made too many mistakes and put the ball in wrong spot and you just can’t do that on this course. I am very, very happy to make 11 birdies, tomorrow I aim to cut out the errors.”
Rozner, an Alps Tour rookie this season, who is currently third on the order of merit heading into this week, is looking for his first win of the year having achieved five top ten finishes from 13 tournament starts in 2017.
Frenchman Rozner is in good company at the top of the leaderboard with compatriots, Leo Lespinasse in third place on -5 and Leonard Bem in fourth on minus 4.
The top five players on the order of merit at the end of the Grand Final will receive their Challenge Tour card, which adds to the excitement of the last tournament of the 2017 season.
Rozner and McDonald will be playing the second round together, teeing off last as there is a daily re-draw. Tee times start at 8:30 with the final match teeing off at midday local time.