|The Australian birdied the final hole of his round to join German duo Marcel Schneider and Freddy Schott at the top of the leaderboard, the latter of whom will need to finish his opening round on Friday after only being able to complete 12 holes due to thunder and lightning at Kaskáda Golf Resort.
The leading trio are one stroke clear of home favourite Stanislav Matus, South Africa’s JC Ritchie and Sweden’s Tim Widing, who share fourth place on five under par.
Windred, who is playing in his maiden European Challenge Tour season, secured a career-best tie for second place at the Challenge de España last month and continued riding that wave of momentum into today’s round.
I am very happy, he said. “I feel like my game has been trending the last couple of weeks, that’s for sure, and having no bogeys out there definitely helps. I rolled a few putts in but in saying that, I gave myself a lot of opportunities and I was able to make six of them, so I’m pretty pleased with that.
It’s a difficult course. If you miss a few tee shots, it can cost you a few shots. The play is to just stay aggressive. There are a few tee shots where you just have to smoke driver down the middle.
It was a couple of hours’ delay and I just got some Netflix in, a bite to eat and then wheeled back out there. I didn’t think it was too bad.
Co-leader Schneider has also enjoyed some good form of late, finishing in a tie for seventh at the Porsche European Open on the European Tour last month.
I’m quite happy about the result today, the way I played and I’m looking forward to the next three days, Schneider said.
I came here with some confidence to be honest, because I’ve played quite well the last couple of events on the European Tour, I think that helps. I know from previous years that I can play well over here, so those two boosts together helped me to perform well.
Eight players share seventh place on four under par, including four-time European Tour winner Marcel Siem, who will be eyeing a fifth appearance at The Open Championship with the leading non-exempt player in this week’s field earning a spot in the final Major Championship of the year at Royal St George’s later this month.