Lofty Swede Floren looking down on all the rest at Irish Open after good blade run
Leader’s bogey-free round features an eagle and four birdies
Leader Oscar Floren of Sweden had his putter working well at Carton House on day one of the Irish Open. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images.
Just like one swallow doesn’t make a summer, Oscar Floren – who played the best golf of all on a day which doused the Montgomerie Course with regular bursts of rainfall – wasn’t getting too carried away with a round that left him looking down on the other 155 players in the field.
At 6ft 2in, the Swede, who came through qualifying school last year and has shown good form in recent months – emphasised by making six successive cuts on the European Tour coming into the tournament – cuts an imposing figure and managed to get all parts of his game to click into place.
Perhaps a less-than-arduous build-up helped. Troubled by a tendon injury in his foot, Floren had restricted his practice since arriving here.
“My foot has been bothering me, so I haven’t been able to hit many balls,” he admitted. However, some treatment in the travelling European Tour physio unit appeared to have the desired effect. After signing for an opening 66, Floren said the foot was “perfect”.
For sure, the proof of Floren’s well-being was provided in a bogey-free round that featured an eagle and four birdies. The eagle came on the the driveable Par 4 13th, where his drive finished 20 feet from the flag on the 338-yard hole.
The temptation to go for the green had proven irresistible, and he finished the job by rolling in the putt for one of only three eagles there all day.
“Ball-striking-wise, my game has been very, very good,” claimed Floren, who has put his failure to achieve high finishes of late (his best result in that run of six successive made cuts tied-29th in last week’s BMW International) down to his putting.
Putter worked well
Yesterday, for a change, the putter worked well. He used the blade just 28 times and made the important par saves that mattered.
Having missed the cut in six of his first nine tournaments this season, Floren has turned his game around of late. How?
“It’s more mentally I’ve changed . . . and I’ve also put in the work, the small things every day that matter. It’s been paying off recently, so that’s good. I like it.”