Matthias Schwab grabs early lead at British Masters

An opening six-under 66 hands Austria’s Matthias Schwab a one-stroke lead at the British Masters.

Austria's Matthias Schwab in action in the first round on Wednesday. - REUTERS

Austria’s Matthias Schwab continued his impressive run on the European Tour on Wednesday as an opening six-under 66 handed him a one-stroke lead at the British Masters.

Schwab mixed seven birdies with a lone bogey at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, leading the way by one shot from Scotland’s Calum Hill.

Schwab enjoyed a career-best European Tour season with 10 top-10 finishes in 2019 and he is already on course to eclipse that mark with four in his first nine appearances this season. Chasing a maiden European Tour title, he is hoping to build momentum heading into the business end of the tournament.

“I don’t know exactly what I need to do to make these good weeks great weeks because if I knew I would have done that already,” he said.

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“I couldn’t quite finish way up the leaderboard but the top tens are nice and I’m just trying to do the same going forward and hopefully it’ll just happen. I don’t think I need to change a whole lot because the game is feeling really solid.”

Tournament host Danny Willett threatened to match Schwab’s total until three-putting his penultimate hole and then sending his final tee shot into the water. The Englishman salvaged a bogey on the 18th to stay in contention with a 69.

World No. 45 Robert MacIntyre, the highest-ranked player in the field, was five shots off the lead following a 71, while former two-time major champion Martin Kaymer struggled to a two-over 74 despite posting five birdies in his round.

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