Mike Lorenzo-Vera showed no sign of a wedding hangover as his stunning back nine earned a share of the European Masters lead, while Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia enjoyed solid starts in Crans-Montana.
Newlywed Lorenzo-Vera picked up six shots after the turn in his opening round to join Matthias Schwab at the top of the leaderboard at the end of Thursday’s action.
The highlight of the Frenchman’s day was an eagle on the par-five 14th, which came amid a run of five strokes gained in four holes.
Having taken a prolonged break to get married and move into a new house, Lorenzo-Vera was pleased with his start in Switzerland.
“I’m very happy because I just had five weeks off,” he said in quotes reported by the European Tour. “It was a stressful five weeks with a wedding and moving plus two kids. I managed to bring the head together pretty well.
“The best thing to do [with so much going on] is to have a very, very good psychologist, that you call often. I’m not kidding, that’s really what I do. Try to clean the head as much as possible outside the tournaments, and come here fresh and ready to play golf.”
Mikko Korhonen, Sebastian Soderberg and Lorenzo Gagli sat one stroke off the leading duo, while Tommy Fleetwood was in a six-way split of sixth on five under. Garcia, the 2005 champion, formed part of a group of players three shots back after a bogey-free 66.
McIlroy continued the strong form that saw him win the Tour Championship last weekend by carding a three-under 67.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) August 29, 2019
The Northern Irishman moved up to second in the world rankings after claiming the FedExCup and has his eyes firmly on displacing number one Brooks Koepka.
“I feel like when I’m playing my best, I’m the best player in the world,” McIlroy told Sky Sports.
“I’d like to get back there. It’s been a goal of mine for a while. I haven’t experienced that summit for the last four years.
“So I feel like with the work that I’m putting in and the consistent golf that I’m playing, hopefully it’s only a matter of time.”