Moriarty shoots 66 to claim Clubhouse lead
Ireland's Colm Moriarty took advantage of a depleted field at the St Omer Open to take the clubhouse lead on the opening day of the European Tour event.
Moriarty, ranked 765 in the world, shot a five-under-par 66 to lead by two shots from Sweden's Joakim Backstrom and French duo Michael Lorenzo-Vera and Charles-Edouard Russo, who each carded 68 from their opening 18 holes.
With the focus of most of the golfing world on the US Open this weekend, those in France, where the field is split between players from the European Tour and Challenge Tour, have a great chance to win an event and Moriarty started with intent.
The 33-year-old, a regular on the Challenge Tour and with just two previous European Tour outings under his belt this year, hit front-nine birdies at the first, sixth and ninth before further efforts at 10, 12 and 13 put him firmly in control.
A dropped shot at the 17th cost him an even bigger lead over the field but Moriarty will nevertheless be happy with his efforts.
Australia's Adam Blyth made a flying start to his round to be three under through four holes and locked in a tie for second place with Backstrom, Lorenzo-Vera and Russo.
Spain's Jordi Garcia was two under par and in a tie for sixth place in the clubhouse alongside Italy's Alessandro Tadini and Mark Tullo of Chile.
English trio Ben Evans, Matt Haines and Lloyd Kennedy were among nine players back in the clubhouse tied for ninth after shooting one-under-par 70s.