The German carded seven birdies and two eagles in a blemish-free opening round at Golf Saint Apollinaire to move three shots clear of Frenchman Frederic Lacroix and Italian Enrico Di Nitto who both recorded bogey free rounds of 64.
The 31-year-old, who won his third European Challenge Tour title last week at the Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos admits that even though he had a few strokes of good fortune he is pleased with his play on day one.
“It was an unbelievable round,” he said. “Everything came together I had a few lucky bounces here and there but obviously I played really, really good as well. I was quite often really close to the hole, my putting was good, and I also dropped two or three long ones and pitched twice in the hole.
“The game was really strong, and really hot and I was never really in trouble, I think twice I missed the green and managed to make up and down once, pitched in for two eagles so it was one of these days, I’m quite happy.”
Schneider moved up to tenth on the Road to Mallorca Rankings after last week’s victory in Portugal and is pleased to bring that momentum to a new venue at the Swiss Challenge.
“It’s a good feeling,” he continued. “You can tell that the course is quite new, everything is still quite open, there are young trees around, I think the course needs another four or five years and it would be a proper test I would say, but I am happy to hold the course record now.
“The weather was amazing actually, there was absolutely no wind, the temperature was just alright, and it was super calm and quiet out there, it was just amazing.”
Vierumäki Finnish Challenge winner and Road to Mallorca Number Seven Marcus Helligkilde, Per Längfors and Jesper Svensson of Sweden, South African Jacques Blaauw and Nicolai Kristensen of Denmark share third position on seven under par.
A group of five players including Australian Blake Windred and Germany’s Hinrich Arkenau currently sit on one shot back in a tie for ninth place on six under par.
Scores after round one
61 M SCHNEIDER (GER),
64 F LACROIX (FRA), E DI NITTO (ITA),
65 J SVENSSON (SWE), M HELLIGKILDE (DEN), J BLAAUW (RSA), R KAKKO (FIN), P L?NGFORS (SWE), N KRISTENSEN (DEN),
66 H ARKENAU (GER), P COHEN (SUI), M FORD (ENG), A JOHN (GER), B WINDRED (AUS), M ROTTLUFF (GER), L RUUSKA (FIN),
67 B HELLGREN (SWE), A HIDALGO (ESP), L NEMECZ (AUT), J BRUN (FRA),
68 J LANDO CASANOVA (FRA), F MORY (FRA), D HUIZING (NED), S MANLEY (WAL), M GRADECKI (POL), J GIRRBACH (SUI), Y PAUL (GER), N REGNER (AUT), A KNAPPE (GER), G MOYNIHAN (IRL), J K?LBING (GER), R VAN WEST (NED),\
69 A PLANT (ENG), U COUSSAUD (FRA), E CUARTERO BLANCO (ESP), D FOOS (GER), J KENNEGARD (SWE), D HILLIER (NZL), J FREIBURGHAUS (SUI), N M?LLER (DEN), M EGGENBERGER (SUI), M LUNDBERG (SWE),
70 P LENCART (POR), G KRISTJANSSON (ISL), T CLEMENTS (ENG), J THOMSON (ENG), T KOIVISTO (USA), E KOFSTAD (NOR), M WIEGELE (AUT), D BOOTE (WAL), S GREHAN (IRL), O LINDELL (FIN), J SAINZ (ESP), F BERGAMASCHI (ITA), R GOUVEIA (POR), J KO (FRA), I CANTERO GUTIERREZ (ESP), S FERNANDEZ (ESP), M LAMPERT (GER), J GARCIA (ESP), T BALTL (AUT),
71 S DEL VAL (ESP), A SARACINO (ITA), P EDBERG (SWE), D BORDA (ESP), B RUSCH (SUI), C MIVIS (BEL), E BERTHEUSSEN (NOR), C ROSS (SCO), J WRISDALE (ENG), M BALDWIN (ENG), L VACARISAS (ESP), D PERRIER (FRA), D RAVETTO (FRA), B NEIL (SCO), C BLOMSTRAND (SWE),
72 T BESSA (POR), J FAHRBRING (SWE), L SCALISE (ITA), K JOHANNESSEN (NOR), A ZEMMER (ITA), C FYFE (SCO), K KOIVU (FIN), E ROUSAUD (ESP), H STUREHED (SWE), A WILSON (ENG), E WALKER (SCO), N KIMSEY (ENG), M GILARDI (AM) (SUI),
73 C WORSDALL (ENG), M KELLER (AM) (SUI), C SAHLSTROM (SWE), F MACCARIO (ITA), A KLUIBENSCH?DL (AUT), ? ZACH (CZE), C GUGLER (AM) (SUI), S TILEY (ENG),
74 H LONG (GER), A DEL REY (ESP), S HENRY (SCO), C TERRAGNI (ITA), F PALSON (SWE), N GERHARDSEN (AM) (SUI), M LINDBERG (SWE), C HOWIE (SCO), J DANTORP (SWE), B EVANS (ENG),
75 G STAL (FRA), K ULENAERS (BEL), M SIMONSEN (DEN), B VIRTO (ESP), F CLERICI (AM) (SUI), M OELFKE (GER), B MOORE (ENG), R DE SOUSA (SUI), H MAGNUS (ISL),
76 A NOSEDA (SUI), R PETERSSON (SWE),
78 E LIPPARELLI (ITA),
80 S WORTELBEOR (SUI),