Moriarty two behind in France


Golf:Ireland’s Colm Moriarty is two shots off the pace being set by Adam Gee, Simon Wakefield and Sihwan Kimon on four under par, after signing for a two under,  69 following the opening round of the St Omer Open.

“It was nice to finish with a good putt for par. It was a tricky one – and there are plenty of those around this course. I’ve played here eight times so I know it well. The first time I played I was awful. I think it’s a course that you have to get to know; it takes a bit of getting used to. It’s not overly long but it’s tricky and the scoring is never very low. You just have to be patient.

“This is only the fourth time I’ve played this year. In Madeira I started off well and then missed the cut, and the last few weeks I haven’t played that great, but it’s early in the season and I’ll just keep plugging away.” Simon Thornton is the only other Irishman in the field, and the 35 year old posted a level par first round.

Gee enjoyed back-to-back birdies on the final two holes, and then watched on as the others suffered late slips, Wakefield bogeying the 15th and 16th, and Kim dropping two shots amid three birdies on the back nine.

Gee is still getting over a lengthy hip injury, and his strong showing here has given him much encouragement. “It’s a good start,” the 31-year-old told “I had some good fortune today — I hit the flag on the 17th and it went in, and on the 18th I hit a good shot from a bad lie and it ran up nicely to the hole.

“It’s a quirky golf course and you get good breaks and bad breaks. Sometimes good shots go badly and bad shots turn out well. I managed to get the most out of the good stuff today. “Last year was very frustrating. I was either playing badly or I was injured. The cartilage between two bones in my hip was torn, so I had surgery to repair it.

“But everyone gets injured, that’s just the way it goes. Luckily I had some great advice and good help from the right people and it’s fine now.” Kim also admitted to some good luck along the way in his round.

“I missed in the right places,” the 23-year-old said. “I wouldn’t say I was hitting the ball terribly, but I certainly wasn’t striping it. I got some lucky bounces here and there. I’ve been working hard on my putting. My speed has been a little off and my short putting has been horrendous in my last two or three events.”

The three sit one shot clear of Raul Quiros, Darren Fischardt and Raymond Russell with Moriarty in a group of six players one shot further back.