HAMBURG: England’s Ashley Chesters posted a bogey-free round of 67 to take the clubhouse lead in the European Open in Hamburg on Friday before bad weather brought a premature end to play.
Almost four hours of play were lost during the afternoon as heavy downpours left the course waterlogged, with fading light later meaning the second round will need to be completed on Saturday.
As one of the early starters, Chesters — beginning at the 10th — was lucky as he succeeded in finishing his round, grabbing five birdies on his way to a five-under-par 67 that left him nine-under in total.
That put him one stroke clear of Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman, who had a 66 to go eight under par.
France’s Alexander Levy, the defending champion, Stuart Manley of Wales and England’s Richard McEvoy were also eight-under when play was suspended for the day just before 9pm local time (1900 GMT).
They will have to complete their rounds on Saturday, with play due to restart at 8am.
“It’s a completely new experience, tomorrow is going to be totally new to me but the whole year has been a learning experience for me,” Chesters, a former European amateur champion ranked 446th in the world, told europeantour.com.
He gained his European Tour card via the qualifying school in 2016 and has missed seven cuts in 14 events this season, with a best finish of joint eighth in the Hassan Trophy.
His fellow Englishman Jordan Smith had been tied at the top of the leaderboard before being forced off by the rain.
When he came back on he missed a par putt at his last hole, the ninth, and ended up with a 67 that left him at seven-under, two adrift of Chesters.
American Julian Suri had led overnight alongside McEvoy after a 66, but he could only shoot a level-par 72 on Friday and is six under par.
South Africa’s former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, the highest-ranked player in the field at world number 21, was five-under overall when he was forced off for the day after 15 holes of his second round.