Anton Karlsson opened with a 63 on day one in Antwerp, Belgium to secure the 18-hole pole position at the Belgian Knockout.
The Swede finished his first day at Rinkven International Golf Club with one bogey, one eagle and seven birdies, including five straight on hole Nos. 13-17 en route to an 8-under par, and two stroke lead in the Section B draw.
“It was a great round of golf. I’ve been playing some good golf lately, not getting any scores together is what it’s been feeling like but today it came together as a whole,” said Karlsson.
“My best day in a long while with the putter. It was tough for a while to actually miss a putt. During the back nine I kept rolling them in from wherever, really, which is always a nice feeling.”
Two shots back, at 6-under par, was a trio comprised of Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, South African Dean Burmester, and Englishman Chris Paisley.
Bermester and Paisley were joint second in Section A, while Fernandez-Castano held solo two in Section B.
“I’m feeling great. I’ve hit the ball really well today, I’ve manged to keep the ball in play most of the time,” said Fernandez-Castano, a seven-time European Tour winner. “Having all these tree lined courses it’s always about getting the ball in position and I think I did that very well.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the weekend because it’s a great course for the type of event and the format we’re playing.”
A logjam of six players were one further back, at 5-under, including Norway’s Espen Kofstad (A), Italian Lorenzo Gagli (B), England’s David Horsey (B), Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre (B), and South Africans JC Ritchie (A) and Justin Walters (B).
The top 32 from each Section (A & B) after 36 holes will advance to the knockout stages. The 64 players who make it to the knockout stages will then be re-seeded based on overall scores, not position in their section. The 64 who make the cut will then go head-to-head over six rounds of nine-hole knockout play using a stroke-play format.
2019 Belgian Knockout
Section A: Top 5
1. Dean Burmester -6
1. Chris Paisley -6
3. Espen Kofstad -5
3. JC Ritchie
5. Sihwan Kim -4
5. Jeff Winther -4
5. Oliver Wilson -4
5. Thomas Detry -4
Section B: Top 5
1. Anton Karlsson -8
2. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano -6
3. Lorenzo Gagli -5
3. David Horsey -5
3. Robert MacIntyre -5
3. Justin Walters -5