Rasmus Hojgaard fires record-equalling 62 to lead French Open

Dane Rasmus Hojgaard equalled the Le Golf National course record in the company of compatriot and 2018 Ryder Cup-winning captain Thomas Bjorn to set a hot pace in the Cazoo Open de France.

On a day when the closing stretch saw some of the Scots in the field stumble, three-time DP World Tour winner Hojgaard yet again underlined his talent by carding a nine-under-par 62.

The sparkling effort, which contained ten birdies, earned him a two-shot lead over Swede Alexander Bjork, with home player Paul Barjon further shot back.

Newly-crowned Italian Open champion Bob MacIntyre fared best among the Scots with a 67, which left him sitting inside the top ten.

Rasmus Hojgaard listens to Thomas Bjorn during the first round of the Cazoo Open de France at Le Golf National near Paris. Picture: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images.

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Craig Howie (68) and Scott Jamieson (69) are also both handily-placed, but, not for the first time in recent seasons, the day belonged to one of the Hojgaard twins.

“First of all, it’s not that easy,” 21-year-old Rasmus told Sky Sports Golf in reply to being told that he’d made his day’s work look effortless. “But today was very good.

“To be fair, I didn’t feel I was that good off the tee, but I felt like my approach play was very good today alongside a very good putter. I holed a few long putts out there, but you have to do that to shoot nine-under.”

The pick of his work with the flatstick was a 72-footer for a birdie at the par-4 fourth while he also knocked in a 21-footer at the last.

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Bob MacIntyre tees off on the ninth hole at Le Golf National. Picture: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images.

Like MacIntyre, Hojgaard is being strongly tipped to be on Luke Donald’s European team for next year’s Ryder Cup in Rome.

“No, it’s not something I think of when I am playing,” he said of that possibility. “It is obviously something everybody is talking about off the golf course, but I just tried today to go out and play as good as I could.

“I feel like I have been playing devent the last few weeks, just made too many mistakes. My goal this week was to limit the mistakes out there.”

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Bjorn led Europe to a thumping win over a strong US side in the Ryder Cup at this venue and Hojgaard said he is enjoying the challenge it presents.

“I think it is quite cool to have a course where you have to think your way round a bit and that’s what this course gives you,” he observed. “It tests you in all parts of your game.”

MacIntyre birdied three holes around the turn and had moved to five-under before finding water with his tee shot at the 16th, where he did well to limit the damage to a bogey.

“It was good,” said the Scot of his day’s work. “I got it going through the front nine and I was looking for a bit more on the back nine, but the way I finished there was poor.

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“The finishing holes are absolutely brutal, there’s just water everywhere. It’s daunting; it’s in your head. All you can do is commit to the shot you’ve chosen and see where it ends up and that’s all I am trying to do.”

Howie and Jamieson were both bogey-free for their rounds until finishing with double-bogey 6s, a visit to water up the left off the tee then a three-putt taking the shine off the former’s day.

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