Otto follows early lead in France

Hennie Otto finished his first round at two-under-par in the 95th Alstom Open de France, the oldest National Open in continental Europe.

Five days after his 35th birthday Otto tied for 11th in the morning field when he carded a round of 69.

Otto made birdie on two of the three par-five holes on the course – the 515 metre third and the 545 metre ninth. As a result he shot two-under-par on his front nine and moved into a share of third.

He was two shots behind early leader Christian Nilsson before making the turn, but the Swede struggled on the back nine and ended the day at one-under-par.

Otto went to a tie for first place after he birdied the 175 metre 11th hole, but the lead did not hold for long as Richard Green scored three consecutive birdies on the 12th, 13th and 14th holes and moved into first place.

Otto made level-par on the back nine after a bogey on the par-three 16th, carding two-under-par for the day.

Ranked 207 in the world, Otto will go into day two of the €3,000,000 tournament trailing the current lead by four shots. England’s Graeme Storm and Australia’s Richard Green tied for the clubhouse lead at six-under-par after both shot opening rounds of 65.

Compatriot Keith Horne started with a birdie on the fourth, but struggled on the remainder of the par-71 course, carding bogeys on the seventh, eighth, 12th, 13th and 14th. He double-bogeyed the 18th to end the day at six-over-par.

The afternoon field will include Sunshine Tour players Thomas Aiken, George Coetzee and James Kingston.

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