A spot of tree trouble contributed to Scotland, the defending champions, having ground to make up after the first round of the PGAs of Europe International Team Championship in Turkey.
Helped by a day’s best six-under-par 66 from Mickael Altmeyer, France set the pace in the 72-hole event at Gloria Golf Club in Belek with a team total of 139, five-under. They lead by a shot from both Belgium and Ireland, with Italy and England two and three strokes further back respectively, then Scotland sharing joint-sixth on level-par.
Clydeway Golf’s Graham Fox posted a three-under 69 – an effort beaten by only three others – that contained five birdies, four of which came in 12 holes.
But, with Eastwood’s David Orr slumping to a 77, it meant a 75 from recently-crowned PGA No 1 Gareth Wright (West Linton) was the other counting score for the Tartan Tour trio.
Wright and Orr both had problems at the par-5 17th, where they each ran up double bogeys, in the former’s case contributing to five dropped shots in five holes after he started at the tenth.
“It was a little disappointing for us today,” admitted the Edinburgh-based Welshman. “Graham’s three-under was a good score on a very tight golf course, but myself and David were quite as good.
“I got off to a good start to be two-under after five holes but then had a ball get stuck up a tree and went on a poor run of holes. However, we aren’t out of it. A couple of good scores and we will be right back In the mix.”
France are bidding to repeat their success of 2011 but Belgium, who were inspired by a five-under 67 from Nicolas Vanhootegem, have yet to win the event, which this year carries a €6,000 first prize.
Ireland were the only team with two players posting sub-par rounds – Eamonn Brady and Brendan McGovern returning scores of three and one-under respectively.
Turkey are the early contenders to be the first winners of the International Shield, which will be awarded to the team representing a PGA with 100 members or fewer. The hosts have a three-stroke advantage on Iceland and Poland.