European Tour

Rookie Norrman takes share of lead at Wales Open

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Vincent Norrman. (PA/Supplied)
Vincent Norrman. (PA/Supplied)

Rookie Vincent Norrman continued his remarkable start to life as a professional golfer as he took a share of the lead after day one of the Wales Open at Celtic Manor.

The Swede only turned professional in June but has already had a hole-in-one and a top five in the paid ranks and he was bogey free as he carded a 64 to get to seven under.

That left him alongside Spaniard Nacho Elvira at the top of the leaderboard at the 2010 Ryder Cup venue, with England's James Morrison leading the British challenge two shots back in South Wales.

Ryder Cup hopeful Matt Wallace was then in the group at four under alongside three more Englishmen in Sam Horsfield, Robert Rock and Jordan Wrisdale.

Norrman has two top-20s in his last three starts - one as an amateur and one as a professional - and the 23-year-old admitted he was aiming to follow the lead of newly crowned Open Champion Collin Morikawa and Norway's Viktor Hovland, who both impressed very early in their professional careers.

"You have to believe in yourself," he said. "I'm super excited to get the opportunity to be out here with the guys who are the best in the world.

"The game is there. It's a lot of fun to prove yourself out here and not play amateur golf. I'm not surprised but I guess a lot of people are.

"Two years ago Hovland and Morikawa proved that if you're a good amateur you can do it. They motivate us, the guys coming up."

While Norrman was bogey free, Elvira recorded two bogeys and a double but countered them with nine birdies and an eagle.

Morrison dropped a single shot in his 66 to sit alongside Finn Mikko Korhonen at five under.

"Very hot out there," he said. "It was quite nice, you just forget about what you're doing, keep your head down and keep going forward.

"I played really well today, just kept going and ticking along. I seem to play well when it gets firm, that seems to be a common theme."

World number 902 Wrisdale had two birdies and an eagle in his round after making just one cut all season on the Challenge Tour, while Wallace was making good progress before dropped shots on the 15th and 17th saw him slip back.

Scot David Drysdale was at three under alongside England's Aaron Rai, Callum Shinkwin and Richard Mansell, with amateur Archie Davies leading the home contingent at two under.

Leading first round scores in the European Tour's Wales Open at The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Thursday (GBR/IRL unless stated, Par 71):

64 - Vincent Norrman (SWE), Ignacio Elvira (ESP)

66 - Mikko Korhonen (FIN), James Morrison

67 - Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL), Matt Wallace, Wade Ormsby (AUS), Sam Horsfield, Bryden MacPherson (AUS), Robert Rock, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (FRA), Jordan Wrisdale, Chase Hanna (USA)

68 - Richard Mansell, Aaron Rai, Justin Harding (RSA), John Catlin (USA), Callum Shinkwin, David Drysdale, Raphael Jacquelin (FRA, Bryce Easton (RSA), Jacques Kruyswijk (RSA), Tyler Koivisto (USA)

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