Edfors, last season’s European Challenge Tour Champion, and Howell, who is looking to secure a place in the European Ryder Cup Team for the 35th Ryder Cup Matches at Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA, in September, lead from a five strong group of players on four under – and a further six players on three under par.
Both of the leaders teed off from the tenth hole at the 7365 yard, par 72, Barsebäck Golf & Country Club venue and both did the majority of their good work on the back nine. Edfors put together four birdies and a bogey from the 10th to the 18th, while Howell racked up five birdies in his opening nine holes.
The Englishman was delighted to reach the leaderboard’s summit early on in the week after missing his last two cuts at the 133rd Open Golf Championship and the Nissan Irish Open.
“I’m delighted to get off to such a good start,” he said. “I missed a couple of cuts in a row and didn’t practice too well this morning before we set off so I wasn’t sure what was in store.
“But I got off to a fast start and after a terrible tee shot on the 14th, my fifth hole, chipped in for birdie which was a real momentum change. Instead of dropping back to one under I was three under and played lovely from then on apart from the bogey on the last.
“I always play terrible at the Open so it was no great surprise to miss the cut there but when I missed the cut last week I was like a bear with a sore head. I never doubted I would make the Ryder Cup team and now I’m in, to miss out would be a major, major blow.”
Frenchman Thomas Levet, meanwhile, continued the majestic form that saw him secure The Barclays Scottish Open title and then a share of fifth place at the 133rd Open Golf Championship in the space of seven days to join Englishman Luke Donald, Argentinian Sebastian Fernandez, Denmark’s Søren Hansen, Ireland’s Paul McGinley and Sweden’s Jesper Parnevik in the six strong group of players on three under par.