Julien Clement is the surprise leader of the Madrid Open at Club de Campo after he carded a seven-under-par first round 64 on Thursday.
updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
Madrid:Julien Clement is the surprise leader of the Madrid Open at Club de Campo after he carded a seven-under-par first round 64 on Thursday. The Swiss was looking to get his game into shape ahead of a trip to tour school, but a second place finish or better could see him avoid pre-qualifying for next season's European Tour. Johan Edfors of Sweden and Australian Terry Price sit in joint second place at five-under. The 2004 European Tour season reaches its conclusion with three successive events in Spain. The second of these - the Madrid Open - began on Thursday at the Club de Campo in Madrid. Colin Montgomerie made a stuttering start to his weekend with two bogeys over the first three holes. The Scotsman recovered a shot at the 7th, but dropped another at the 10th to slip to two-over-par. But the remainder of his back nine would be almost impeccable. Montgomerie bounced back from his bogey at the 10th with three consecutive birdies from the 11th. The Ryder Cup star picked up two further birdies at the 15th and the 18th for a 31 on the back nine of the par-71 Club de Campo course. Montgomerie would card a three-under-par round of 68 for a share of 11th place. Brian Davis finished the day a shot ahead of Montgomerie and company at four-under-par. The Englishman sat at level-par by the turn after two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine. But Davis carded another four birdies on the back nine, including three in a row from the 13th, without dropping a shot for a 67 which would be good enough for a share of fifth place. Trevor Immelman's participation in the event came into doubt when he was stung by a bee on Wednesday. The South African suffered an allergic reaction and was rushed to hospital with a swollen knee. Immelman played through the pain barrier on Thursday though and shot a round of six birdies and two bogeys for a four-under-par 67. But the first round lead would be taken by a player who had failed to make the cut in each of the last eight tournaments that he had played in. Julien Clement's aim for the weekend was to find his best form ahead of a visit to tour school, where he would look to pre-qualify for next season. But the Swiss now has a chance to qualify by right if he can maintain his excellent start throughout the weekend. Clement birdied five of the last seven holes on the way to a seven-under-par 64 that would have been one-shot off the course record had preferred lies not been used. He will take a two-stroke lead over Johan Edfors and Terry Price into Friday's second round. (AP)