It looks like Chris Hanson’s decision to play in the Open de France instead of Open Championship qualifying may be about to pay off.
The 30-year-old European Tour professional from Woodsome Hall was delighted to fire three under par for the first round – despite having a bogey on the last.
Hanson did not drop a shot on the opening nine, firing four birdies in the process, and he was par up to the 15th, where he went within a shot of the lead thanks to a fifth biride of the day.
Unfortunately, on the par-three 16th, he carded a double-bogey five and, despite recovering with a birdie three on the 17th, he dropped that shot immediately on the last.
Hanson, who could have gone to final Open qualifying at Hillside earlier in the week, tweeted: “Great fun playing my first @OpenFranceGolf.
“Also nice to post a solid first round of 68 (-3).”
Hanson earlier explained his decision not to play at Hillside, noting there is a 583,330 euros first prize on offer in France, with ver 30,000 euros on offer to every player who makes the top 30.
“After 2014 and playing in the Open it’s something I wanted to do, but this week it’s a massive event on Tour, the French Open,” said Hanson, who has moved up from 28th to ninth in
his category and who finished 38th in the BMW Open in Germany following a three under final round.
“Before the last round I was sixth reserve, and with the way entries work they hold spots back for anyone finishing top ten the week before who is not exempt.
“No-one managed to finish top ten, so then I had to wait for the email to say I’m in the French Open and I can prepare and plan with no distractions from Open qualifying.
“It was a tough call to make, and there is a good argument for both playing and not playing, however me and my team have made what we feel this year is the correct decision.”