Follett-Smith storms into early Sweden lead

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Benjamin Follett-Smith fired an impressive eight under par round of 63 to take a two stroke lead on the opening day of the Indoor Golf Group Challenge at Landeryds Golfklubb in Sweden.

The Zimbabwean took advantage of perfect conditions in Vesterby to card ten birdies, including six on his opening seven holes, and just two bogeys to reach eight under par, two clear of Italian Lorenzo Scalise, Dane Jeppe Kristian Andersen and Swedish duo Linus Jonsson and Joakim Wikström.

The 29-year-old, who secured a maiden win on the Challenge Tour when he triumphed at the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open in February, was pleased to get off to good start to the second of back-to-back weeks in Sweden.

“Anyone would be happy with that start,” he said. “I think all of us aspire to practice and then put those kind of rounds together. To do it in the first round of the tournament is always a nice bonus as it opens you up for a good week.

“I got off to a hot start on the front nine. I think I was six under through seven. I wasn’t thinking about it too much, I was just happy that I was putting well. I struggled with my putting last week but today I was hitting it close and making some good putts.”

Follett-Smith, who sits 15th in the Road to Mallorca Rankings, holed long birdie putts on hole 15 and 17 but thinks distance control with his irons was key to a fast start.

“Playing towards the slopes on the greens instead of right at the flags is important,” he added. “I think my distance control was right on check and I took my opportunities with the putter as they came.

“If you’re going straight at the flag I don’t think you’re going to keep it close, and with the greens being quite big, you’ll have some long distance putts occasionally.

“I’ll prepare for tomorrow the same as if I’d shot a 75 but probably with a smile on my face. I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing.”

On a low scoring day, 12 players share sixth place on five under par, including Englishman Alfie Plant, Frenchman Benjamin Hebert, Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard and Welshman Stuart Manley.

Day two gets under way at 7:30am local time with Follett-Smith teeing off alongside German Velten Meyer and Norwegian Kristoffer Reitan at 1:20pm.

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