Grace a front-runner in Geneva

Branden Grace shared fifth place with a first-round 68, finishing three shots behind the lead after day one of the Rolex Cup at Golf Club de Geneva on Wednesday.

His first-day card of four-under-par included six birdies, but Grace could not match the flawless opening 65s shot by Florian Praegant and Sam Hutsby in the €218,000 tournament.

Birdie on the first gave Grace a kick-start. He quickly moved to two-under after finding the cup in two strokes on the 170-metre, par-three third hole.

Grace would bogey the sixth, but took advantage of a scoring opportunity on the par-five eighth and returned to two-under before making the turn.

He began the homeward nine with par on the 10th, but he birdied the 11th and returned to three-under.

One further bogey by Grace, which came on the par-four 12th, would be the last drop of his round.

He carded a pair of birdies on 14 and 15 before some impressive scrambling on the final three led to a trio of pars before Grace signed for his 68.

Countryman Michiel Bothma struggled to find his rhythm and offset birdies on the fifth, 12th and 14th with bogeys on the sixth, 11th and 13th. He closed the day with a level-par 72.

The pressure is on Bothma to card well in round two, especially since Mark Tullo took his 2010 Rolex Trophy with a final tally of 22-under-par.

Tyrone Ferreira will be disappointed to be one of only four players who carded above par. He shot 73 in the first round and is eight shots behind the first round lead.

Golf Club de Geneva allows players to shoot low, and Grace must keep pace with the front-runners if he wants to pose a threat come Saturday.

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