Dubai: The English trio of Callum Shinkwin, Sam Horsfield and Dale Whitnell lead after day one, on six under par, of the $2 million Soudal Open played at Rinkven International Golf Club, Antwerp, Belgium on the DP World Tour.
Whitnell, starting from the first tee, went to the turn in 30 and with further birdies followed on holes 11, 12 and 16 stood nine under on the 17th tee with just two holes to play.
A double-bogey, bogey finish for the 33 year-old, who sits in 132nd in the current 2021-2022 DP World Tour Rankings, meant Whitnell had to settle for a 65.
In contrast Sam Horsfield, a two-time DP World Tour winner, had a bogey-free round and Callum Shinkwin had just one birdie on his card, both recording the same score at the top of the board, alongside Whitnell.
Others of note in the mix include in tied fourth Adrian Meronk (Poland), a man in-form in 14th place in this season’s DP World Tour Rankings, sponsored by Dubai-based White Eagle Sport with a 66.
Alvaro Quiros of Spain, winner of both the Dubai Desert Classic and DP World Tour Championship in 2011, also opened up with a 66.
Horror front nine
Other Dubai-based players: Adrian Otaegui (Spain) shot a level par 71 (tied 67th) and Belgium-born Nicolas Colsaerts shot a respectable 72 (tied 87th).
Dubai Golden Visa Awardee Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain, currently 12th on the DP World Tour Rankings, had a horror front nine holes of 42 with four bogeys and a double, but came home strongly with a three birdie 33 to be tied 133rd.
A total of 43 players are within four shots off the leaders.
The field of 156 will tee off tomorrow (Friday) with the first tee time at 7.30am (Belgium time).
Leading first round scores (Par 71. 6924 yards):
D. Whitnell (Eng) 65.
S. Horsfield (Eng) 65.
C. Shinkwin (Eng) 65.
Y. Paul (Ger) 66.
J. Winther Den 66.
A. Bjork (Swe) 66.
A. Meronk (Pol) 66.
N. Elvira (Spain) 66.
A. Quiros (Spain) 66.