At 08:40 in the morning, the 95th edition of the Open de España got underway. The field includes one hot favourite and 131 players looking to end his love affair with Madrid’s Club de Campo.
66 golfers set off in the morning session, and two names currently stand out above the rest at the ACCIONA Open de España presented by Madrid: those of Eddie Pepperell and Mike Lorenzo-Vera. The Englishman and Frenchman both started their campaigns with impressive rounds of six under par which, for the moment, have them sitting proudly atop the leaderboard. For his part, Jon Rahm signed for a 68 and is currently in the top 10.
The first to reach the clubhouse with a 65 under their belts was France’s Mike Lorenzo-Vera. The Basque-Frenchman, whose father is from Tenerife, made few mistakes in a round that included seven birdies and just one bogey.
The 38-year-old arrives in Madrid in need of some good results before the end of the season in order to keep his DP World Tour card, and he is well aware of the good opportunity Madrid presents him. In perfect Spanish, he joked: “there are very good players in the tournament, such as one who played very well at the Ryder Cup two weeks ago, ring any bells?”. One step at a time. One day at a time. One shot at a time. The Frenchman is all too aware of what can happen in this game when you get ahead of yourself, and he does not want that to occur in Madrid. A few years ago, he admitted that he had many excesses in his life and that he reached rock bottom. His girlfriend and his sister helped him turn his life around and get the best out of the talent he has for golf. And he has plenty.
Lorenzo-Vera also recalled that he won his first tournament wearing a Spanish polo shirt, and said “I don’t think the French Federation were too happy!”. An adopted son of Spain has made a solid start in Madrid, and he is looking to complete his turnaround with his first victory on the DP World Tour.
Elsewhere, Englishman Eddie Pepperell started his round on Club de Campo’s back nine. He came flying out of the blocks and almost eagled the par-4 tenth. His wedge from 100 yards eventually settled just a few feet from the hole. The two-time winner on the European circuit eventually signed for a solid 65 that only contained one blemish, a bogey on the 17th (his eighth) after his tee shot found the bunker. Following his round, he told us that he was “surprised by the result as I really struggled in yesterday’s practice round and didn’t expect much today”. That is golf, when you least expect it, it rewards you with one of those days where everything goes your way. However, Pepperell declared his love for the city and the course, which surely did no harm: “this course makes me fight and when I fight, I play better. Also, it’s always nice to play in Spain and visit this country. Madrid’s a great city and I’m enjoying it with my girlfriend”. Every little helps. Let’s hope Eddie and Lorenzo are able to keep up this pace over the coming days.