Sunday 25 February 2018

Shane Lowry makes low-key start in Malmo after stellar week

Shane Lowry
Shane Lowry

Jens Dantorp led the home challenge as the Nordea Masters got under way in Malmo on Thursday morning.

While most eyes were on fellow Swede and world number two Henrik Stenson, who was playing the event for the first time since 2011, Dantorp fired a bogey-free 66 to share the early lead with England's Eddie Pepperell.

Stenson sat three shots behind following an opening 69 to leave him alongside Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez whose recent good form has catapulted him to the brink of Ryder Cup qualification at the age of 50.

Dantorp began his round on the back nine and birdied 11 and 12 before picking up further shots on 16 and 18 to reach the turn in 32.

More birdies followed on one and six to put the 25-year-old at the top of the leaderboard alongside Pepperell who birdied his final two holes to complete a 66 containing a single dropped shot.

The leading duo were one shot clear of a chasing pack of four players on five under, including two more Swedes in Sebastian Soderberg and Rikard Karlberg.

Scotland's Stephen Gallacher and Daan Huizing of Holland were also on five under with Spain's Jorge Campillo a further shot back after a double bogey on his final hole saw him drop out of the lead.

Scotsman Lee Craig was also on four under, a shot clear of a group including Stenson, Jimenez, fellow Scot Scott Jamieson and English duo Simon Dyson and Oliver Fisher.

Stenson's eratic 69 contained just seven pars as he began his campaign to avenge a painful play-off defeat to Mark Hensby in 2005.

Thomas Bjorn was on two under after an opening 70 while in-form Shane Lowry was a further shot back with Victor Dubuisson, Peter Hanson and Jonas Blixt amongst the later starters.

Shane Lowry, a runner-up at the BMW Championship at Wentworth on Sunday and a qualifier for the US Open at Walton Heath on Monday, opened his tournament with a one-under-par 71.

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