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Jacquelin Three Clear With a Little Help from his Girlfriend 
Raphaël Jacquelin of France sealed his course record 62 in the first round of the Nordic Open with a kiss for his caddie at Simon’s Golf Club, Copenhagen, then praised the contribution of his bag-toting girlfriend, Fanny Chabre

The world of golf is accustomed to a caddie named Fanny tramping the fairways, but Fanny Sunesson is currently taking a well earned break as her employer, Nick Faldo, enjoys the birth of his new baby daughter.

In her absence, Jacquelin’s girlfriend of three years picked up his bag for the first time in competition and flew the flag for the female sex as Denmark throbbed with excitement at the prospect of the first European Tour event on their soil.

Massive crowds flocked to watch all five Danish winners in action, but it was Frenchman Jacquelin who stole the first day honours from the likes of Thomas Björn, Anders Hansen, Søren Hansen, Søren Kjeldsen and Steen Tinning.

The man from Lyon, a Tour regular since 1996 but still seeking that elusive first victory, gathered eight birdies and an eagle in his ten under par round, which secured a three stroke lead over England’s Phillip Archer, Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez and Raymond Russell of Scotland.
His three shot lead equals the 18 hole advantage Darren Clarke held at the Masters Tournament at Augusta National – the best on The European Tour so far this season.

He then explained the reason behind his decision to employ Fanny to fulfil the role of caddie rather than anxious spectator this week. Jacquelin commented; “My usual caddie had some things to do in Paris this week and had to stay there. I used his twin brother last week in Sweden and although he didn’t make any mistakes, the feeling was not right.

“Fanny wanted to try one week and we got together on Tuesday and Wednesday in practice. It was good fun today – 62 is a pretty good start! She is doing the job well. She has the yardage book and she wants to pace everything and help me read the lines of the putts.

“She follows me around every week so she knows a bit about the game and I think she did really well. It wasn’t easy for the first time.”

Jiménez.has not enjoyed such as productive time in the last two years as in the previous three seasons, when he was twice fourth on the Volvo Order of Merit. However there have been signs of an overdue return to form for the Spaniard, who has won a total of six times on The European Tour International Schedule.
“I want to get back into contention. I’ve missed that feeling” acknowledged Jiménez after shooting a seven under par 65 which included two missed eagle attempts from 12 feet and three feet.

He added: “I have my focus back, which is good. That is the main thing. I was annoyed to miss those two eagle attempts but everything in my game was good today. I haven’t contended since finishing third in the Open in 2001 and ninth in last year’s Masters. But I feel things have come together in the last three weeks.”

Archer, who finished tied 12th in last week’s Scandic Carlsberg Scandinavian Masters, attributed a ticking off from his coach and sports psychologist for his rich vein of form. He covered his first nine holes in 30, seven under par (starting at the tenth) while Russell, who began on the same hole, finished with a flourish of six birdies in succession.

“This is my first proper season on Tour so I suppose it’s down to lack of experience. My coach, Mark Pearson, thought my preparation was shocking and told me to use my practice days better and work out what to do and not to do. My psychologist, Karl Morris, said much the same thing. It’s starting to pay off.”

Russell is co-holder of The European Tour record of eight consecutive birdies, after claiming that haul in the 1997 British Masters. After ending his round with six birdies, he has the chance to surpass that in the second round.
He joked: “I changed my putter after taking 70 putts last weekend and my caddie says he’s going to go to bed with it! I didn’t want to stop after finishing that way”

Thomas Björn, the tournament favourite and one of the main reasons why 7600 Danes turned up on a Thursday to Simon’s Golf Club, finished with four straight birdies for a round of 67 and headed off to the Physio Unit to get treatment on a stiff neck.

Colin Montgomerie, one of the front line names in Copenhagen, had a modest start to his title bid. Three birdies and one bogey were scant reward for some decent play, undermined by erratic putting. It left Montgomerie scratching his head and saying: “I have not putted at all well this year. I don’t know why. It’s the same putter and the same person but they are not going in.

“I am not holing out as well as I should be but never mind. We will try again tomorrow. The greens and good so no excuses there, but unfortunately it is a problem, especially with the course playing as easy as it is. There could be a 62 every day and I hope I have one of them because I need it!”

The shot of the day came towards the close of play as Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands holed his second shot from 265 yards with a three wood for an albatross two at the 18th, turning a possible 71 into a 68. It was his second as a professional, the first coming on the European Challenge Tour three years ago. 

Courtesy of www.europeantour.com  

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