(Reuters) - England’s Tom Lewis flirted with shooting the first ever 59 on the European Tour before settling for a nine-under-par 62 and a share of the first round lead at the Made in Denmark tournament in Farso on Thursday.
Lewis had got to 12 under with five holes to play and needed only pars coming in to dip under 60 but he slipped back with bogeys at the fifth (his 14th hole), eighth and ninth to finish level with Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and Swede Joakim Lagergren.
“It was a good round today but a disappointing one, but how many people can get disappointed with nine under?” the 25-year-old Lewis told reporters at Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort.
”It’s a tough one but everyone can tell it (a chance of a 59) was on there and unfortunately I came up just short. I hit some good putts, I hit some bad putts. A couple of good ones that missed, and a couple of bad ones that holed.
“In all it was fine,” said Lewis, whose only European Tour victory came at the 2011 Portugal Masters.
The in-form Pieters served a timely reminder to Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke that he would be a worthy selection as one of the three wild-card picks to be announced by the Northern Irishman on Aug. 30.
Europe have already assembled their first nine in a group featuring Rory McIlroy, British Open winner Henrik Stenson, Olympic champion Justin Rose and cup veteran Sergio Garcia, plus five rookies including Masters winner Danny Willett.
”It was stress-free today,“ Pieters, 24, said after carding 10 birdies and a lone bogey. ”I drove it well off the tee, hit it close and made a bunch of putts.
“I did all I could in front of Darren today. He has a lot on his mind other than golf and we will just have to wait and see. If I do win this week, it might get him thinking, but I just have tomorrow to worry about.”
A twice champion on the European Tour, Pieters placed fourth at the Rio Olympics earlier this month before finishing second at last week’s Czech Masters.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Andrew Both