CHRIS Hanson shot two under par 70 for a one stroke lead after the first round of the £50,000 PGA Europro Tour Championship at De Vere Slaley Hall.
The Woodsome Hall player began his round on the back nine and quickly moved to two under par after four holes.
Bogeys at the 18th and second holes put him back to level par before birdies at the fourth and eighth saw him card one of just four rounds under par in tough conditions in the North East.
“I knew that a score around level would be good – so I’m pleased to have got in under par,” said Hanson. “I was a couple under early on then dropped those shots. But getting an easy birdie at the fourth and another one at the eighth was pleasing and I hit a couple of good shots on the ninth to walk off two under.”
Hanson has missed the cut in his last two events on the Tour but sits in a promising position at Slaley Hall and says he’s aware of what he needs to do to come out on top.
“The key for me in the final two rounds will just be to be as patient as I can be,” said the 24 year-old.
Paul Doherty (North Gailes), Sandeep Grewal (ISM) and Llewellyn Matthews (Southerndown) all carded one under rounds of 71 to sit on Hanson’s shoulder.
Howley Hall, led by European Challenge Tour player Danny Denison, won the West Yorkshire Alliance Team championship at Alwoodley yesterday, their four man team posting 117 stableford points. Adrian Ambler, the Yorkshire PGA Order of Merit leader from Walton Golf Centre, won the Donald Hastings Trophy as best individual on 40 points.
Leading team scores: 117 - Howley Hall: D Denison (scr), S Bestwick (10), A Naylor (5), G Andrews (4). 114 - Wike Ridge: A Herridge (scr), S Mitchell (10), A Alger (9), R Whiteley (10). 113 - Scarcroft: S Hughes (scr), S Cain (plus 1), M Squire (9), R Young (12). 113 - UK Direct Golf: T Denby (scr), D Aldrick (12), T Jones (14), K Hallas (18).
112 - Huddersfield: P Carman (scr), D Hughes (11), R Turner (9), A Schnacke (2).
Others included: 107 - Lightcliffe: R Tickle (scr), J Denham (5), C Cox (9), J Drake (8). 101 - Crosland Heath: R Lambert (scr), A Goldstein (5), L Pilkington (6), R Ledgard (7).
Paul Casey starts his first event since August 6 today – but whether he finishes it is another matter.
Casey returns from a torn rib muscle injury at the Volvo World Match Play Championship, now being staged at Finca Cortesin in Spain rather than Wentworth, and admits he is “chomping at the bit” to get going again.
But the world No4 was also asked what it would take for him to withdraw.
“Sharp pain,” he said. “One sharp pain - that’s enough. I’ll be out of here.
“I’m not going to push it and do any more damage.”