Although he closed with two bogeys on Wednesday, Louis de Jager carded a four-under-par 68 to take up a share of third place after the first round of the European Tour’s Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett at The Belfry at Sutton Coldfield, England.
De Jager made an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys as he ended the day two shots behind leader Matthias Schwab of Austria. Scotland’s Calum Hill was in second with his five-under 67, and De Jager joined eight other players on four-under. There were 10 players on three-under, including South Africa’s Dean Burmester and Justin Harding.
De Jager started his round on the 10th, and made birdies on 13, 16 and 17 in a flawless opening nine to head onto the front nine at three-under. Things looked even better as he eagled the par-five third and birdied the fifth to move to six-under. But he stumbled over the final two holes, with a pair of bogeys denying him a share of the lead.
Haydn Porteous started with a one-over 73, while Justin Walters was two-over after the first round. Zander Lombard battled his way to a four-over.
Schwab had 10 European Tour top 10s and he has had four in just nine events on the 2021 Race to Dubai, with three in his last four starts. “I don’t know exactly what I need to do to make these good weeks great weeks because if I knew I would have done that already but it’s been a solid start to the season with some really nice finishes,” he said.